Raiders vs. Cardinals: Live Preseason Week 2 Report Card for Oakland
Live Game Grades Intro
Follow this set of slides to see how the Oakland Raiders perform against the Arizona Cardinals. Grades are real-time and will be updated after every quarter of the game. Come back after every quarter to see each position group's grades and post game for specific player grades for all the notable performances from the game.
Carson Palmer: B-
Matt Leinart: B
Palmer was under pressure for most of the first half, but did some nice things and may have a new favorite target in rookie receiver Rod Streater. Palmer did make another questionable decision that resulted in an interception that you would hope he would avoid.
Leinart got much better protection and was able to effectively move the ball before getting knocked from the game with a finger injury. Leinart isn't going to make many big plays, but he has good command of the offense and finds the open receivers.
Pryor got limited action, but his one incomplete pass was a poorly placed deep pass to Juron Criner.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
The Raiders got decent production from the quarterback position. Combined the quarterbacks for 20 of 35 (57%) with one interception and no touchdowns. Considering the lack of pass protection in the first half and pretty much no running game after Darren McFadden left the game, it was slightly above average performance from this group.
Matt Leinart came into the game and took command of the offense. The second-team offensive line gave Leinart good protection and he was able to march the Raiders down the field with relative ease. Outside of an odd duck pass that was actually complete to Juron Criner, Leinart looked good.
Unfortunately a cheap shot by the Cardinals sent Leinart to the locker room for a x-ray on his right finger and Terrelle Pryor came in for two plays.
Palmer made another decision to throw a deep pass between several defenders and was intercepted. Those are exactly the type of mistakes Palmer needs to avoid in the regular season. This offense can be explosive if Palmer can avoid making big mistakes, but he hasn't shown the ability to be smart with the football yet this preseason.
Palmer did get a little smarter with his passes after the interception and started to find rookie receiver Rod Streater, but all the passes were short completions that should be routine for a veteran quarterback.
The offense got off to a slow start, but started to find a groove on the second and third offensive drives. Palmer looks like he's got a good handle on the offense, but his accuracy wasn't great when the Cardinals put pressure on him.
Palmer needs to be a little smarter when he is under pressure as he got away with a couple risky throws.
The Raiders will want to see good decision making from Carson Palmer. Palmer too often takes unnecessary risks, and even if he is making the right reads might need to think twice before taking a deep shot.
Matt Leinart can manage the offense, but I'd like to see him push the ball a little more. He has the reverse problem of Palmer in that he would almost always rather take the check down. He should take a little more risk and give his receivers the opportunity to make a play, particularly when the situation calls for it.
Pryor needs to be more accurate, and to do so his footwork must be better. The coaching staff also wants to see him do a better job prior to the snap with getting the offense in the right play and having enough time to read the offense and make adjustments.
Darren McFadden: B
Mike Goodson: F
Lonyae Miller: C
Darren McFadden looked his normal self, but couldn't punch it in from 1-yard out and ended the game with 3.8 yards per carry. He's capable of a better game. McFadden did add a 17-yard reception, but by his standards you could even make a case he deserved a worse grade.
Mike Goodson had five rushing yards on six rushes and two fumbles. Ouch. That's a complete failure from Goodson, but he's looked good during training camp and should rebound.
Lonyae Miller takes what the blocking gives him, but that's about the extent of his ability. Miller also made some mistakes against the Cardinals by running to the outside shoulder of his blockers.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
The Raiders couldn't muster enough offense to drive and win the game and the running game wasn't productive after Darren McFadden left the game. Lonyae Miller had 13 rushing yards in the fourth quarter and the running backs combined to rush 30 times for just 93 yards in the game. That's a below average rushing game for any team.
Lonyae Miller took over for Goodson and was relatively productive in the third quarter. Miller pushed the ball into the end zone for the Raiders first offensive touchdown of the preseason.
It was nice for the Raiders to finally get into the end zone, but Miller is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry in the game. Miller will take what the blocking gives him, but lacks the explosiveness to get something out of nothing.
Mike Goodson couldn't find any holes in the running game and fumbled twice. Goodson has looked good in training camp, but just returned to practice after injuring his neck and that might still be impacting him from a mental standpoint.
Goodson had fumbling issues in Carolina, so it's a little concerning to see him with two fumbles in a quarter of play.
Darren McFadden was stopped several times on the first drive, but the Cardinals could only contain him so long. McFadden's a weapon in the passing game and is proving that again against the Cardinals.
Most troubling was the inability of McFadden to punch it in from the 1-yard line, but much of that could be placed on the offensive line.
Mike Goodson got a carry and a catch and looks to have a good grasp of what is going on.
Darren McFadden will play, but the Raiders should be cautious with him. He must stay healthy. Look for most of McFadden's runs to be outside the tackles so he can avoid taking the big hits inside.
This will be the first game action from Mike Goodson. He played well prior to hurting his neck in a collision with linebacker Philip Wheeler, and the Raiders will want to see good, smart running from him.
Taiwan Jones is still nursing a sore hamstring but looks close to returning to the action. The Raiders might turn him loose, but they also might opt to play it safe with him. If he doesn't play, Goodson has an opportunity to climb the depth chart with a good performance.
Lonyae Miller will again get snaps, but he is auditioning for other teams at this point.
Rod Streater: A
The Rest: C
The Raiders only had one wide receiver with more than two receptions and that was rookie Rod Streater. Streater went undrafted out of Temple, but continues to prove himself to the coaching staff.
Streater had 7 receptions for 43 yards and also made a hustle play to save a touchdown early in the game when the Cardinals intercepted Carson Palmer.
The Raiders desperately need more from Darrius Heyward-Bey and they need to get Dnarius Moore back. Jacoby Ford looked like he was having a rebound game before hurting his foot and leaving the game.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
Pryor only attempted a couple passes, but one was a poorly placed ball that forced Juron Criner to turn into a defensive back.
Outside of Rod Streater, the receivers didn't produce consistently. The Raiders have a lot of receivers on the roster and despite a couple injuries there are a lot of players shuffling in and out of the huddle.
Juron Criner finally got involved in the passing game and made a nice adjustment and catch of Leinart's duck pass and also made something out of nothing on a reverse.
Brandon Carswell and Travionte Session also made secure catches from Leinart.
Rod Streater had several receptions and is becoming a favorite of Carson Palmer. Streater is up to 7 receptions for 43 yards. Heyward-Bey didn't get involved outside of drawing a suspect personal foul and Ford went to the locker room with an injury.
The Raiders are getting thin at the position and need their top guys to be completely healthy for the passing game to be a threat.
Rod Streater and Darrius Heyward-Bey couldn't hang onto passes, but Streater drew a pass interferance penalty. Adrian Wilson knocked it away from Heyward-Bey, but it's a situation where he may have made the catch if he was using his hands and not his body.
Ford made a nice catch, but limped off the field with some sort of lower leg injury and that's not a good sign considering his history.
Last week is was rookie receiver Rod Streater who had a big game, so it might be time for rookie Juron Criner to have a big game this week. Look for Streater to remain heavily involved. Jacoby Ford needs a bounce-back performance, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to get Darrius Heyward-Bey rolling.
Eddie McGee will see his first game action, and he's trying to hold off Criner and make the 53-man roster after missing a good portion of training camp with a hamstring injury. Travionte Session, Thomas Mayo and Derek Carrier should get opportunities in the second half.
Richard Gordon: C
The tight ends were an afterthought against the Cardinals. Gordon needed a good performance to challenge for the No. 1 tight end job, but he mostly needed to produce in the passing game and he didn't show up against the Cardinals.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
Not very much action from the tight ends in the passing game. Surely they helped the offensive line, but the tight ends really needed to produce in the passing game.
No receptions by the tight ends in the game and haven't been made any notable blocks.
Palmer's interception sailed over Richard Gordon's head, but the interception was clearly not his fault. Otherwise the tight ends haven't been heavily involved.
David Ausberry made a nice block that broke McFadden, but not much action for the tight ends in the first quarter.
Brandon Myers hasn't been practicing after hurting his shoulder in practice, and he probably will not play.
If Myers isn't able to play, it will be yet another opportunity for Richard Gordon and David Ausberry to impress the coaching staff and chip away at Myers' stranglehold on the top spot. Gordon is more of a blocking tight end, but he's been showing he can catch passes too. Ausberry needs to show the team that he can block to figure into the rotation.
Tory Humphrey and Kyle Efaw are long shots to make the roster and need to perform well in the second half. Efaw is a practice-squad candidate.
Alex Parsons: C
It's probably not fair to place the entire blame for the struggles of the starting offensive line on one guy. Parsons started for Stefan Wisniewski and the offensive line struggled to protect Carson Palmer in the first half and wasn't opening running lanes.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
The No. 2 offensive line seemed to protect Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor reasonably well, but the starting group had a lot of trouble giving Carson Palmer a clean pocket.
The offensive line gave Leinart plenty of protection, but they couldn't muster much in the running game. Still, they did the job and got the Raiders into the end zone.
The offensive line was allowing a lot of pressure on Carson Palmer and he was under duress for most of the first half.
The running game couldn't get going and there were not many holes for Mike Goodson to run through. Overall a really poor performance from the offensive line and it might have something to do with hte absence of Stefan Wisniewski.
The offensive line could get Darren McFadden in the end zone from the 1-yard line and they allowed a little too much pressure on Carson Palmer.
On the first drive McFadden couldn't get much going as the Cardinals were sitting in the running lanes. The lineman have to clear the way and spring McFadden to the second level.
The Raiders could be without starting center Stefan Wisniewski due to a calf injury. In his place will be former practice-squad player Alex Parsons. Parsons already had a good chance to make the roster because of his versatility, but a good game as the starting center might further solidify his role.
The rest of the starting offensive line remains intact and have performed better than expected during training camp and the first preseason game.
Keep and eye on Joseph Barksdale and Tony Bergstrom when the reserves come on the field. Barksdale has not looked good in practice or in the preseason game and is at serious risk of not making the team. Bergstrom could eventually push for a starting spot at left guard, but he will need to produce against the No. 2 defense.
Tommy Kelly: A-
Lamarr Houston: B+
Matt Shaughnessy: B
Richard Seymour: B-
Richard Seymour was getting routinely doubled and that meant Tommy Kelly wasn't getting a single blocker and he was getting pressure on just about every pass play. Lamarr Houston was stout against the run, but he also was putting pressure on the quarterback.
Matt Shaughnessy was missed and his presence alone makes it very difficult for the offensive line as there is simply too much talent to handle.
Hall Davis recovered a fumble and Desmond Bryant proved his versatility once again by playing defensive end and defensive tackle.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
The defensive line had a good night, but they can still be better. The No. 2 defense wasn't getting the same pressure as the starting unit and they also allowed a couple of big runs particularly on the final drive as the Cardinals were trying to seal the victory.
Pressure not quite there without the No. 1 defense on the field, but didn't have any major breakdowns. Hall Davis picked up a fumble and rolled into the end zone for a Raiders touchdown. Good enough for the No. 2 unit.
Kevin Kolb and John Skelton were constantly pressured, but the defensive line didn't have that many opportunities. The Cardinals scored a quick short pass after recovering a fumble so the defensive line didn't even have much opportunity to stop the run.
The defensive line was getting good pressure and had relatively good gap control against the run after the first drive. Anytime the defensive line forces a couple grounding penalties and gets a safety you can safely give them a good grade.
Tommy Kelly looked particularly good pushing the offensive line around and Lamarr Houston continued his solid play against the run.
The Raiders are still looking for their fourth defensive tackle, and Christo Bilukidi and Dominique Hamilton are the primary contenders.
Aside from the competition at defensive tackle, the Raiders are pretty set on the defensive line. However, the Raiders need to stay healthy and prove they can rush the passer with Kamerion Wimbley.
Carl Ihenacho: A-
Philip Wheeler: A
Rolando McClain: B-
Miles Burris: C
The rookie Miles Burris struggled and missed a few tackles and got blown out of a few gaps on runs that went for big gains. Rolando McClain missed a coverage assignment on Cardinals' running back Anthony Sherman on a pass into the flat and he walked in for an easy touchdown.
It wasn't all bad, Philip Wheeler looked good again and always seemed to be around the ball. Specifically Wheeler blew up a run in the back field in the first quarter. Carl Ihenacho was active against the run and also had a strip sack that Hall Davis returned for a defensive touchdown.
Fourth Quarter and Overall
The linebackers couldn't help the Raiders get the ball back in the fourth quarter and the Cardinals ran the ball and sealed the victory.
There were too many missed coverage assignments and there were also plenty of gap integrity issues. The only linebacker that played well were the two SAM linebackers Philip Wheeler and Carl Ihenacho.
Carl Ihenacho strip-sacked Ryan Lindley and the Raiders were able to pick it up and score. Good play from the former practice squad player. Unfortunately, Mile Burris missed a couple tackles and that brings down the grade.
The linebackers weren't on the field much, but they did manage to blow coverage on an easy touchdown pass to the fullback. Rolando McClain appeared to be responsible and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver was talking to him after the play.
The linebackers had some gap control issues on the first drive, particularly rookie Miles Burris. Rolando McClain made a couple plays, but also allowed one long run to slip past him. Philip Wheeler looked the best as he blew up a run and he's extremely active in all phases of the game.
There were some issues the Raiders will want to correct, but this unit looks capable of making some plays for the Raiders in 2012.
Rolando McClain and Philip Wheeler have had a good training camp, look for their solid play to continue. Miles Burris is developing quickly with the absence of Aaron Curry, and a couple more solid preseason performances should put the coaches at ease about the position.
Chad Kilgore is currently playing with the No. 2 defense behind Burris and has played well. Kilgore could make the roster if Curry opens the season on the PUP list.
Carl Ihenacho is another young player to watch, and he's fighting for a reserve linebacker spot. A good or bad performance in the preseason could make a difference at this point.
Shawntae Spencer: B-
DeMarcus Van Dyke: C-
Mike Mitchell: C+
Matt Giordano: B+
Far too many missed tackles from the secondary, but overall the unit was pretty solid in coverage. Spencer was a little late to arrive in several zone coverage situations, but it's better than giving up long completions. Disappointing performances by Mitchell and Van Dyke. Both missed a couple tackles and Van Dyke was also victimized in the passing game.
Giordano started for Michael Huff and had a good night and even made a couple play in the backfield.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
DeMarcus Van Dyke continues to struggle in game action and allowed several receptions and also made two mistakes against the run. Van Dyke has trouble playing the ball and because he is tall and thin he can't recover from an error against the run. It's disappointing after a fast start in training camp.
Chimdi Chekwa made an easy interception of an underthrown Ryan Lindley pass. It's a play that he should make, but it gets the defensive backs a better grade for the third quarter.
The secondary wasn't tested much in the second quarter. They get a passing grade for just putting on the uniform.
Bryan McCann started at slot cornerback and promptly gave up two receptions on the first drive. Shawntae Spencer closed a little late playing in zone coverage and allowed a reception. Overall not horrible, but this group didn't make any plays.
The Raiders need better performances from their young cornerbacks, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa. Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell will start and should be good on the outside, but in the NFL you need at least three if not four solid cornerbacks. Van Dyke has had good training-camp practices, but it didn't translate against the Cowboys on Monday night. Chekwa has been hot or cold for most of training camp and even briefly lost his spot with the No. 2 defense to Pat Lee.
The Raiders look set at safety with Tyvon Branch, Michael Huff, Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell. Brandon Underwood seems to be playing well at free safety with the No. 2 defense. He hasn't played any cornerback, but if the Raiders wanted an excuse to keep him they could move him around.
Jon Condo: C
The Raiders have a great long snapper, but he had several high snaps against the Cardinals. Very uncharacteristic for him. The coverage and blocking teams had a very bad night and there will probably be extra emphasis on special teams in practice next week.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
Well, things didn't get any worse on special teams and Eddie Carmona hit a 53-yard field goal which is longer than any of the attempts I saw during training camp.
A blocked extra point puts an exclamation point on the special teams issues for the Raiders.
Hate to see a blocked punt after the Raiders started to gain momentum. The protection was suspect and Marquette King had no chance to get it off. The Raiders have to do a better job of protecting the punter, because not even Shane Lechler could have gotten that punt off.
Marquette King has a huge punt, but his coverage team didn't get down the field and the Raiders allowed a long return. The Raiders coverage units need to do a better job covering long punts, because Shane Lechler has been known to boom a few long ones.
Jacoby Ford brought two kickoffs out of the end zone, but failed to get the ball to the 20. Those are mistakes the Raiders will want to avoid as they are giving up free yardage.
Jacoby Ford is now returning kicks and punts. With the kickoff rules the way they are, it only makes sense to use Ford's speed on punt returns. Ford has been generally good at catching punts in practice, but he muffed one last week.
Look for Ford to rebound and hopefully show everyone he still has game-breaking speed.
Marquette King will keep punting with Shane Lechler out, but he's auditioning for another team.
Dennis Allen: B
Greg Knapp: C
Jason Tarver: C+
Looks like the coaching staff will be conservative coaching staff based on their decisions on Friday night. Greg Knapp's odd series of play calls at the 1-yard line was one of the reasons the Raiders didn't get a touchdown in the first quarter. Dennis Allen made one successful spot challenge that was an easy call and chose not to challenge a Darren McFadden's sideline catch that was ruled out of bounds.
The team was also very flat on the opening offensive and defensive drives a sign that maybe the coaching staff didn't have the players totally prepared to play just four days removed from their last game.
Fourth Quarter & Overall
Dennis Allen opted to kick a field goal instead of trying to convert the fourth down to get the touchdown to tie the game. That decision backfired when the Cardinal burned off the final five minutes of the clock to secure the win.
It was a glimpse into what Allen might do in the regular season game. Allen's preference as a defensive coach was to put the game in the hands of his defense and not the offense. It's also the conservative decision. It's not a good or bad decision and it's much easier to criticize an aggresive coach than a conservative one.
The Raiders keep running a play action with a designed roll out, but the backside linebacker or defensive end isn't biting. It's important to establish the run first and Greg Knapp is trying to force the issue to open up the passing game. Could be better.
Jason Tarver pulled McClain aside after blowing a coverage assignment and it's nice to see the coaches holding McClain responsible for his errors.
Dennis Allen made a good challenge of a first-down reception by Rod Streater that kept a drive alive.
Greg Knapp had a terrible series of calls after the Raiders drove the the 1-yard line. Knapp called two outside zone runs and then a roll-out pass right and Palmer had to throw it away to avoid a sack.
Dennis Allen could have challenges a pass to Darren McFadden on the sideline that was close to a reception.
Dennis Allen is still getting things down as the head coach, but he seems to be very much in control on the sidelines. His first big challenge or decision will not come until the regular season, but a few dry runs couldn't hurt.
Allen is letting his coordinators call the game, and Allen is particularly involved on the defensive side of the ball. It will be interesting to see if Tarver continues to call all the defensive plays or if Allen starts to intervene more and more as the season gets closer.
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