From training camp to their first preseason game, Oakland has had a busy week preparing for the season.
Early on, injuries limited a variety of players, some of which carried over to the preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. Darren McFadden, Jacoby Ford, and several others were unable to participate in the Thursday night affair.
As it seems, Oakland's game was a nice change of pace for the fans, especially if you have been waiting months for the game, the Raiders had both good points and bad.
For the good points, Oakland's defense, from the first team with Rolando McClain to Lamarr Houston to the third team with Jerome Boyd and Stevie Brown, helped lock up the end zone, limiting the Cowboys to only three field goals.
Stevie's game ending interception looked like a player covering a kick than a true pick, while Boyd's pick off had end zone written on it when all he had between him and six points was daylight.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Raiders' first team looked as if was still in training camp. Routes could stand to be a bit more solid, the offensive line could stand to hold back the opponents more and Jason Campbell could develop a bit faster, more accurately than he did Thursday night.
A good example of how his work is coming along could be noted by three passes meant for Louis Murphy. With the first pass, he would miss the target entirely...the second pass was caught, but Louis could only get one foot down in bounds. The last pass would be caught, with some decent yardage behind it. It was an Oakland first down made by Zach Miller, showing a good flair for both getting open and being open as needed.
Nick Miller helped the Raiders score their first touchdown of the game with a nice grab from Kyle Boller. The idea that Jason Campbell would play the first quarter, then Boller for a quarter and a half, then Colt Brennan, apparently did not materialize, as Boller helped lead Oakland to 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Two things could be learned from the Raiders' win in Dallas. First of all, the Raiders' defense seems to be ready, here and now for the team to compete in the NFL. It did not seem to matter which route Romo experimented with—whenever the Cowboys would get in close, someone would step up, sacking the quarterback and backing them out of the red zone. Lamarr Houston put his stamp on this defense by sacking Romo twice, accounting for two of the three he had on the night.
The second thing that could be taken from this game is that while the Raiders are developing slowly on offense, there is still time. If this was the performance against the Seahawks, with the Titans game looming, I would be pulling out my hair wondering where our options exist.
As it is still early, we need to finish getting Chaz Schilens healthy, Darren McFadden up to speed, and must get Jacoby Ford worked out on returns; we also need to see if we want to keep Johnnie Lee Higgins or Shane Bodiford around...they are questions to be solved.
As it stands, several players are now on the bubble...
Shane Bodiford muffed a punt that could have been turned into a touchdown, but luckily it only turned into a field goal. Better ball control needs to happen.
Several false starts, which the Raiders need to get a rein on, were committed by several different players. This is understandable for rookies, like Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer, but when you are Chris Morris, it does not help your chances.
Khalif Barnes, another player hoping to continue his career, was caught holding as well. Tom Cable has admitted it is one thing he would like to work further on, as it was one thing Raider fans cited as a reason to get rid of Cornell Green.
Forward progress is happening in Oakland....next game up is vs. the Chicago Bears. How many want to see Cutler run for his life?