5 Important Things We've Learned About the Oakland Raiders This Preseason
Of course, most of us realize when it comes to preseason, the number of wins and losses really don't have much effect on the outcome of the regular season.
In 2009, the Cardinals lost every preseason game, but they ended their regular season at 10-6. In 2005, the Colts lost all their preseason games, but went on to a 14-2 regular season record. And in 2010, the Bears were 0-4 in preseason before going 11-5 and advancing to the NFC title game.
Needless to say, in the overall scheme of things, preseason records don't matter all that much.
There are several things that Raider fans can take from the games played thus far. Here is a look at five things I think we've learned about Oakland as it heads into its third preseason game.
Carson Palmer or Matt Leinart?
There is little doubt that fans are just as divided as ever on quarterback Carson Palmer, if not more so after the first two preseason games.
Palmer has a great attitude and hopes to become the true leader of the Silver and Black. And it's obvious that he's excited about this season. Unfortunately, he's been shaky at best thus far, failing to get the offense into the end zone in either preseason game.
His stats to date are 16 of 30 (53.3 percent) for 140 yards, no touchdown passes and two interceptions.
That adds up to a passer rating of 38.2.
Head coach Dennis Allen remarked, "I don't have any reservations or any doubts at all about Carson Palmer."
Many fans have brought up the point that Palmer is trying to learn Greg Knapp’s new West Coast offense, which is what the preseason is all about. The reason Matt Leinart looks better is that he's already comfortable with the West Coast system, having worked with Knapp in Texas.
Timing and execution are two major factors that the team is working on during preseason in order to get ready for the real thing. It's certainly way too soon to be calling for Palmer's head.
I think the jury is still out as to how he'll do in 2012.
For now, fans should support our starting quarterback and give it some time before making a harsh judgement call.
Darren McFadden Is Delivering as Promised
Darren McFadden has been one of the most talked-about running backs in the NFL, and is already considered the star of the offense.
Many feel that if McFadden stays healthy he has the potential to become the AFC West's most dominant player and lead the Raiders to the top of their division by the end of the year.
With two preseason games under his belt, McFadden is showing himself to be one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL.
Penalty Issues Seem to Be Improving
One of the biggest issues for the Oakland Raiders in 2011 was their penchant for penalties.
Their season totals last year of 163 penalties for 1,358 yards were both league records.
This year is already looking a lot better for the Raiders as far as penalties. Some of last year's culprits, such as Stanford Routt, have said goodbye (Routt joined the Kansas City Chiefs), but I believe the biggest difference comes from our new head coach Dennis Allen.
He has brought much-needed discipline to the Silver and Black.
After two preseason games, the Raiders amassed a total of nine penalties, a striking difference from their average of ten per game last year.
Rookie Rod Streater Rocks
Rookie receiver Rod Streater has been the big standout rookie this preseason, despite the fact that he was passed over by all 32 teams in this year's draft.
He may be the Silver and Black's biggest and most pleasant surprise, as he has taken advantage of his opportunities when on the field. After just two exhibition games, the rookie from Temple has 13 receptions, more than any other wide receiver or tight end in the league.
Although the Raiders defense looked questionable on the Arizona Cardinals' first offensive possession of the game, the unit quickly came back, showing that this year's Silver and Black defense could be a stark improvement over what we've seen in recent years.
One of the highlights of the game was Tommy Kelly's sack of quarterback Kevin Kolb in the end zone for a safety.
According to an AP report, Kelly has gone as far as to say that he believes the team will be a top-five NFL defense. The defensive tackle is said to have welcomed the changes made by first-year coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. Kelly noted: "(If) we cut down on the mental errors and the penalties, man, people are going to have a hard time dealing with us." (via Oregonlive.com)
Raiders to Host Detroit Lions in Third Preseason Game
The Raiders will host the Detroit Lions at home on Saturday, August 25 at 4 p.m. PDT.
With many of the projected starters getting a lot more playing time, expect to get a better glimpse of what we'll see in the regular season.
Backups will also be looking to impress in this one in order to make the final roster.
The Silver and Black may just walk away with the victory this time. Although it is just preseason, I've still got to say, "Just win, baby!"
Show us what you've got!