The new and improved Oakland Raiders did not live up to that billing in their 10-6 preseason opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings. It was the first time all the new pieces the Raiders added this offseason were on the field together and it showed. It is only a preseason game and the team was expected to have some growing pains early, but there are some concerns about how the team played.
“Disappointed in the way that we played,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “I thought we’d come out and be sharper than that and execute better than that.”
It is going to take some time for the players to build chemistry on the field and begin to find a level of comfort with each other. As the preseason continues, the Raiders will have a chance to gel and put a better product on the field. More reps and opportunities will be coming for the players expected to make the roster, including the first team offense and defense.
The game started with the Raiders going three and out. Quarterback Matt Schaub was unable to find Andre Holmes twice on the drive. The first team clearly needs more work together. Schaub played two more series with similar results. He finished 3-7 for 21 yards. He did have a nice throw to tight end Mychal Rivera in the seam on the third series, but it was dropped. That was a common theme in the game as the Raiders' pass catchers dropped numerous ball throughout the game.
Oakland's first team defense did not fare much better. They also need more time to play with each other to develop trust and chemistry. The Vikings drove right down the field on the Raiders on their first series with a 10 play, 70 yard drive ending with a touchdown. The Raiders were killed by penalties throughout the game and especially on the first few drives. Cornerback Tarell Brown was victimized several times on the drive.
As the game progressed, the Raiders were able to show a little better. Rookie second-round pick Derek Carr replaced Schaub in the second quarter. He finished the game 10-16 for 74 yards and one interception, which came off the hands of fullback Jazime Olawale. The Raiders were very conservative with Carr, mostly throwing quick, short passes.
It was not all bad for the Raiders. Running back Latavius Murray showed well in the game. He rushed seven times for 28 yards and showed off his ability to catch out of the backfield with two receptions. Darren McFadden only carried once, but it was a 23 yard rush that showed strong burst. Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa made the most of his opportunity, playing more because of injuries at the position. He defended passes well and put himself in good position in coverage. The Raiders were also able to racquet up the quarterback pressure as the game went on. The team ended with six sacks from players like Sio Moore, Pat Sims, Kaelin Burnett, and rookie Shelby Harris.
Quarterback Matt McGloin came in as the third and final quarterback for the Raiders and impressed. He developed a nice chemistry with wide receiver Brice Butler, connecting on four passes for 44 yards. He also made sure the Raiders did not get shutout in the game with a 10 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, just like the coaches drew it up.
The Raiders have plenty of room for improvement after the first preseason game and that is not unexpected. Now, the team knows that the first units on both sides of the ball need more work together to build that trust and identify how to play together. That should happen as the Raiders move into week two of the preseason.
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Tags: Andre Holmes, Brice Butler, Chimdi Chekwa, Darren McFadden, Dennis Allen, Derek Carr, Football, Latavius Murray, Matt McGloin, Matt Schaub, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders, preseason, Sio Moore