The first game of the Oakland Raiders' 2012 season was an emotional rollercoaster for fans of the Silver and Black. From botched punt snaps to awful penalties, there are a number of areas that need improvement.
However, fear not Raider Nation! Oakland did make some quality changes that they can grow from. Let’s take a look at some of those changes and highlight three positives we can take away from Oakland’s Week 1 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
The Oakland Raiders defense showed a marked improvement in stopping the run, holding San Diego to just 32 total yards rushing.
Matt Shaughnessy and Tommy Kelly each had four tackles and stuffed the middle of the line, but it was rookie linebaker Miles Burris who shined, gathering nine total tackles (seven of which were solo).
Whenever there was a tackle, you could count on seeing Burris climbing out from under the pile.
The Oakland Raiders QB threw for 297 yards and one touchdown, but most importantly, ZERO interceptions.
Palmer played well within the system and didn’t try to force the ball. From drop-back passes to rolling out and throwing on the run, Palmer distributed the ball well and had good vision of the field. The only tools missing are a receiving tight end and a solid veteran possession wide receiver (which Derek Hagan may become).
What we saw Monday night was a Carson Palmer-led west coast offense that moved the ball well down the field.
Which leads me to running back Darren McFadden
While he didn’t light up the field with his rushing (15 carries for 32 yards), he did impress as a receiver from the backfield, leading the team with 13 receptions for 86 yards.
And when DMC had the ball in his hands, he ran HARD. Those runs resulted in some HEAVY hits, and DMC bounced up from each and every one of them and returned to the huddle.
That may be the best news of all from Monday night.