Last night, the Raiders defeated the Cowboys 17-9 in their first preseason game.
You take things with a grain of salt in the preseason, but there was a lot of telling information both for and against the Raiders. A few things I noticed:
Offense Is Still A Work In Progress
Jason Campbell made his debut as the Raiders new quarterback and the results were average to say the least. In this case, average is good for now.
Campbell finished 7-of-13 for 49 yards and zero turnovers before leaving the game midway in the second quarter.
Campbell looked very comfortable throwing to Zach Miller. Getting Chaz Schilens completely healthy is a must.
The offensive line seemed particularly shaky in the middle. Samson Satele looked to be overpowered repeatedly while he manned the center position. Although he's regressed, a call to Kevin Mawae might be an option to look into.
It's only one preseason game, but it would have been nice to have Darrius Heyward-Bey make a couple of catches this game.
Reports say DHB has greatly improved this offseason. A couple of catches would have added to the confidence boost and temporarily quell some of the criticism.
Defensive Front Seven Was Impressive
This offseason, the Raiders were intent on solving their deficiency in stopping the run. The front seven seemed swift as they swarmed to the ball.
In total, the Cowboys had 22 rush attempts for 66 yards. Not bad.
The line was able to get pressure on Tony Romo, with rookie Lamar Houston and Matt Shaughnessy getting two sacks each. It was also interesting to see Houston and Shaughnessy still playing late in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders need to find where their sacks will come from this year, and having both the young starters getting extra snaps is good for them.
Bruce Campbell Finishes Plays
For someone who seems so unsure of his potential, Bruce Campbell made a couple of nice blocks to spring both Michael Bennett and Rock Cartwright for good gains.
He did have a couple "chicken with his head cut off" looking plays, but he did a good job of sticking with his man and riding them until the play is finished.
Hopefully this will be a confidence booster for when he eventually faces a first-team defense.
It's expected to have some problems with penalties when you are trying to get all of your players some time, but this one particular segment was rather ugly.
During Kyle Boller's first series, the Raiders had three penalties, two of them were consecutive and one was declined to make it fourth down. Every play that wasn't a penalty went for zero or negative yards. In total, there were nine penalties for 63 yards.
Other Random Things I Noticed
–Congratulations to the Cowboy's announcers for the title of, "fewest amount of references to an opposing team ever." Watching another teams local broadcast of a game, you expect there to be a bias in favor of the team that employs them. Even with that in mind, the lack of Raider discussion (besides the negative stuff) was surprising.
Of all the local broadcasts I've watched, they all have a graphic to show the opposing teams names and positions. Not the Cowboys.
Normally, the play-by-play announcer will let you know who makes the offensive play as well as who makes the defensive stop. For example, the announcer says Jason Witten makes a catch and then proceeds to say Nnamdi Asomugha is the person who tackled him.
Not if you're the Cowboys announcer. It seemed the announcers would only call a Raider by name if they absolutely had to.
Maybe this is just a preseason thing so they don't have any extra work to do. It was still strange.
– Nick Miller looked much quicker than I thought he would be. I'm also not so sure he got his feet down on that fourth quarter touchdown.
– I was expecting Tony Romo to spit on the microphone when he was being interviewed late in the fourth quarter.
– Someone should interview punter/kicker Swayze Waters on why his parents gave him that first name.
– This recap is coming nearly a day after the game was played because I couldn't watch it until the NFL Network broadcast.
– I was hoping to see some of Colt Brennan during the game. He said he could fake his way through even with limited practice. That would have been really fun, or really ugly, to watch.