There are a few reasons why the majority of people look past preseason football. Could it be that people don’t want to see the young players get a chance to shine? Could it be the lack of patience for fantasy football to begin? These things could be the reason but I am a person who is thrilled by the preseason and even more excited to finally get a live look into what the 2016 Oakland Raiders will look like.
These games don’t matter in the standings but in the grand scheme of things it absolutely 100% matters. In the first preseason game vs. the Arizona Cardinals, the starters played about two series and what I saw from the first team was a synchronized effort on both sides of the ball. On the very first play from scrimmage for the offense, Quarterback Derek Carr completed a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree for a first down and that’s why Raider Nation has much to look forward to this season. We took plenty shots down the field on a Cardinals secondary that features one of the elite corners in our league in Patrick Peterson. Running back Latavius Murray flashed his talent in his limited carries by displaying his burst through the line and his low pad level. Carr didn’t play much but he showed in limited action why he is on track for another great year. The offensive line played well too. Rookie Running back DeAndre Washington played well on special teams and showed why he will be used as the main back to spell Murray for carries this year plus be a factor in the passing game out of the backfield. Rookie receiver Johnny Holton played primarily on special teams but his impact was felt with a 41-yard return on a punt to lead the Raiders to a field goal. Quarterback Matt McGloin led two scoring drives with a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Andre Holmes & second yr. tight end Clive Walford. Rookie QB Connor Cook also led a scoring drive in the third quarter as well but the show was stolen by fourth year running back and former practice squad player George Atkinson III. He rushed for 97 yards with a pair of touchdowns on just five carries (19.4 avg). With all the depth at running back this year, Atkinson started this camp as the potential loose end but with this performance I am sure he will make the coaching staff reconsider.
On the defensive side of the ball, rookies Karl Joseph and Jihad Ward started the game with the first team and they both flashed in moments. They both recorded 1 tackle each but Ward was always around the ball. Joseph’s tackle on Cardinals running back David Johnson was pretty impressive considering he is just eight months removed from an ACL tear. New cornerback Sean Smith almost recorded a pick on the first drive of the game for the cardinals. Cornerback David Amerson had a rough day tackling but coverage wasn’t too bad. Linebacker Bruce Irvin played good as well as majority of the defense. A few busted plays but all in all. Even though a lot of our core players are back on defense, we still have to “gel” together to be as formidable as we know we can be. In the second preseason game vs. The Green Bay Packers…The starting unit struggled to stop the run game of the packers in the opening drive and for much of the first quarter but after that we settled in and did pretty well. The result of that game was a loss but still plenty of positives came out of that game as well. With two preseason games left before the regular season starts, I still have questions about our depth in certain spots but I’m looking forward to a strong finish to this preseason.