Nothing. Well, almost nothing.
That is what we learned about the Oakland Raiders in the preseason.
It is, after all, just preseason football and in the NFL, you can't really take too much from a team's preseason record.
Remember the Detroit Lions' 4-0 preseason record in 2008? They then went on to finish the regular season at 0-16.
It is just preseason football; the record really doesn't matter.
Oh sure, one could deduct from watching the Raiders during the preseason that the pass defense will struggle immensely during the first season of the post-Nnamdi Asomugha era.
While I didn't watch every play of every Raider preseason game, it did seem like every other play on defense was a long pass completion, or a vital 10-plus-yard 3rd-down conversion.
I keep telling myself it is only preseason football.
As for the run defense? Well considering the other teams seemed to be making successful pass plays against the Raiders during the preseason, the run defense wasn't really tested that much. Or so it seemed anyway.
It is—I keep telling myself—just preseason football.
The first-string offense—minus Darren McFadden and Jacoby Ford—was anemic at best during the preseason. In fact, they were doing so poorly that Raiders coach Hue Jackson left them in for most of the first half against the Seattle Seahawks trying to help them score a touchdown.
They couldn't do it.
But it is just the preseason, right?
However the first-string offensive line did do better during the preseason than I expected. For the most part they were able to protect Jason Campbell, except when he was indecisive and held onto the ball too long. The second- and third-string offensive line struggled for the most part though.
But it is just the preseason—who knows what will happen starting next Monday in Denver when it counts.
Before the first preseason game I filled out my predictions for the Raiders' season with a co-worker. I had the Raiders at 6-10 for the season—he had them at 10-6. While I hope he is correct in his picks, I have a bad feeling I will be closer than him.
If I had made my picks after the third preseason game I might have been tempted to put the Raiders at 4-12. But I keep telling myself not to panic.
The Raiders offense didn't have McFadden or Ford the whole preseason, and the secondary will get better. I hope they will anyway.
As for the run defense? Well there were injuries there as well, but they did look good at times, not so good at others. One can only hope Hue Jackson wasn't showing the defensive scheme he will be using during the regular season on both run and pass defense.
There are some very optimistic Raider fans out there who are still predicting a 10-6 record—or better—for the Raiders. I am not one of them.
All in all, I'm not really concerned about what the Raiders did in the preseason; I still think they will win about six games. However, after watching them perform during the preseason I was very tempted to revise my game predictions to show them at 4-12.
But it is—well I think you know what I was going to say here...something about it being the preseason.
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