The Oakland Raiders lost a close game to the Arizona Cardinals for the second straight year. I sure am glad that 2011's was just a preseason game where players needed to get a look to see who's going and staying.
Beyond that, there are certain youngsters on this Raider team and the coaching staff needs to see where they are. Then of course, you have the position battles that look to be heating up on this young, talented team.
But today, I'm going to stick to the things I was looking for going into the game from my last article.
Turn the page to see what they are.
If I was wrong about Veldheer as a pass blocker, I actually can't wait to tell everyone that's the case. If I do, that means quarterback Jason Cambell is being kept clean and the vertical game is going to flourish.
If last night's game is any indication, this is going to be a year to remember for the Raider offense. He hasn't seen a big-time pass rusher yet, as Joey Porter isn't the same guy he was a few years ago, but Veldheer handled him and anyone else coming off the edge easily.
Yes, I said it.
Veldheer looked good.
Maybe having Tom Cable coaching him was the problem as no offensive line he ever coached protected the quarterback very well. Cable's the one that made Michael Vick have to use that speed on a regular basis when he was there.
Under offensive line coaches Bob Wylie and Steve Wisniewski, Veldheer is off to a good start.
Quentin Groves actually looked okay in last night's preseason opener against the Cardinals. He got touched up early in coverage but came back later and broke up a pass thrown to his man.
In the run game, he still has to do a better job of setting his edge, but he's better than he was last year. He seemed to be in the game all night as he played with the second and third teamers.
Raiders head coach Hue Jackson probably thought what I was thinking and wanted to get a long look.
Denarius Moore did have a drop in last night's game but boy can that man make some plays. He had a 26-yard catch in the game on a post pattern in which Moore was able to get some big-time separation.
How about the punt return?
I know it didn't count, but the big return that Moore had in the game was just another illustration of what he is as a playmaker. We all finally got a chance to see what Moore's teammates and coaching staff has seen all camp long.
It's nice to know he can do it when the lights come on.
Al Davis has done it again!
Last year, it was Marcel Reese, a 4.4 40-yard dash running, former wide receiver converted to a big play fullback. This year, it looks like David Ausberry, a 4.4 running, former wide receiver is converting into a big play tight end.
Did you see him run away from the safety and drag that back toe?
He's going to be special.
Is this Darrius Heyward-Bey's breakout year?
This is another case where I will enjoy being wrong.
He looks to be catching the ball easily these days (without fighting it or jumping for a ball thrown at his belly button). But that's not the big thing I was looking for because everyone can work on catching the ball and get better at it.
What I'm impressed with is the way he was able to use his sub-4.3 40 speed to get open. If he continues down this path, not only will he be special, he'll be scary.
If it means a Raider player is good, I love it when I'm wrong.
With the exception of one play were he was a little too high and got blown back—even on that play he held his block and the running back was off to a good gain—into the backfield, Stefen Wisniewski was solid
Wisniewski looks to have the calls down, along with his assignments in the Raiders' blocking scheme, too. He's another guy that seems to have been on the field all night last night to get an extra look from the coaching staff.
Not a bad start for the youngster.
Jason Campbell actually looked okay last night.
He was pinpoint accurate on his intermediate throws but needs to just throw the thing on deep balls. He could have had two touchdown passes last night if not afraid to put it out there and let his receiver go get it.
The run defense looked good for the little time it was out there, as well as Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson in coverage. The Raiders were able to win the battle of the No. 1's and show Raider Nation the six important things I was looking for.
For now that is.
This team will go somewhere if this continues.