Inconsistency was the word of the game for the Raiders who were shut out at home in their 2012 preseason opener versus the Dallas Cowboys.
The starting offense only played a few series and moved the ball well but some miscues between QB Carson Palmer and WR Jacoby Ford kept them from capitalizing on Darren McFadden's hard running.
In the first drive, the Raiders moved down the field 38 yards after starting on their own 14 yard line, mostly on the strength of McFadden who had runs of 4 and 16 yards and added a reception for another 18 yards. The fourth play of that drive was a deep pass down the left side where Palmer was trying to hit Ford for a long reception or possible TD but he threw an ill-advised pass into double coverage and Dallas S Gerald Sensabaugh, coming over from center field, was able to pick off the pass.
McFadden came out after that series and the Raiders struggled to move the ball with Lonyae Miller rushing. Aside from McFadden virtually no player showed consistent play making ability on the offensive side of the ball as the Raiders dealt with drops, poor protection from the offensive line and an inability to run the ball on the Dallas D.
The exception was rookie UDFA standout Rod Streater who continued his solid offseason with six receptions for 66 yards. At times he seemed to be the only player on the team that could get open and catch the ball.
QB Matt Leinart, coming into relieve Palmer mid way through the first quarter, showed his familiarity with the offense. He stayed away from costly interceptions and fumbles and was able to make some good plays with checkdowns. He also struggled with pressure at times and wasn't as accurate on the move as he's been in camp.
Many fans were expecting Terrelle Pryor to show the same skills that made him a highly touted QB at Ohio State but it took some time for Pryor to find his groove. Early on during his turn under center he tucked the football and ran at the slightest hint of the pocket collapsing around him and it wasn't until he got a better feel for the pressure that he was able to maneuver in the pocket and make some plays downfield.
Pryor struggled with the same issues that he's been working on since camp - footwork and fundamentals. His balls were consistently thrown nose-down which is common with his passes. This created a number of balls that were either thrown into the dirt or at the feet of his receivers. At the end of the game, he notably had two passes intercepted back to back - the first of which was ruled an incomplete pass but reviews indicated it was not. Dallas chose to not challenge the ruling on the first interception but promptly intercepted the next pass - a deep ball that had too much air on it.
The defense looked very good - the first team defense gave up hardly any yards to Dallas first team offense. It's difficult to know if this was a result of the defense gelling well or Dallas OL injuries combined with QB Tony Romo not being on the same page as his receiver. My guess is the latter.
Overall, there were some good plays and some bad plays - more of the bad - but preseason is about getting the first games out of the way, putting your players against a new opponent and then learning from the mistakes. Allen has a great many teaching opportunities from this game and if the young Raiders squad can take them to heart they can prepare themselves for Sept 10th, when the season- and their tests - truly start.
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Interesting remarks on the QBs below. Were we watching the same game? Carson looked like the starter, Leinhart looked like the Leinhart we've seen his entire career (solid #2 QB - not a starter) and Pryor? People... PLEASE tell me all your questions concerning him as the starter have been answered. Looked like he stepped off the OSU campus yesterday... SERIOUS case of happy feet. This guy might be something SOME day - but he is not starting for us (or anyone else) anytime soon. Might be better to try and work him in as some kind of flex player or he could just end up leaving at the end of his contract and never playing for us.
The defense looked better than I expected, but Dallas is not exactly Green Bay - and quite frankly, I wasn't expecting much. Pretty easy to imagine most teams on our schedule ripping thru this D without much trouble.
What is it with the WRs? Seems like every year the rookies are stellar and the second/third year guys all get a serious case of the dropsies. Jacoby Ford? Embarrassing. Hard to believe that's the same guy we've seen in the past. Anyway - always a glimmer of hope with a new season...
Not too worried about the score considering how little our first team offense played but still not a fan of Palmer. Sure it was the first game of the pre-season but gun slinging passes like that are not going to help this team win even if some of the blame for that intercept needs to go to Ford also. If Criner steps up, I honestly think Ford could plummet to fifth on the depth chart behind DHB, Moore, Streater and Criner.
The first team Defense looked good it in's limited time on the field. Was very impressed with Burris (Curry might find it hard to get his starting job back), Kelly looked dominating, Houston looked great and Bryant looked like a veteran starter.
@nilbymouth I'm inclined to agree with you and ford slipping back. I know he was injured a bit last year but when he did play he wasn't that impressive. He needs to step it up. 3rd year now and needs to show a improvement, like dub did last year.
@ukraider78 @nilbymouth the thing with Ford is that he has never been consistent. He's a playmaker one play and he's a bust the next. He's been like that since his rookie year, I remember thinking who the heck was this guy dropping easy balls and then he'd catch a difficult 50 yard bomb. I hope he can develop some kind of consistency this year. Criner has yet to show anything and Streater so far looks pretty solid. preseason wont mean much especially if they dont get the touches they need, remember Kenny Shedd? short speedy receiver with a knack for the return game during the preseason and then done after a couple seasons.
Really not enough of the starters to analyze them but the Defense did look solid and the one play Bartell gave up is the toughest pass to defend that back shoulder through and Dez is a big receiver they were stride for stride Dez just adjusted to the ball better wasnt like he was burned. Leinart was effective and accurate which is what your QB has to be in this offense so was Palmer two drops and an overthrow that if its a bigger receiver may have been a completion.I saw some good things from the oline they were making holds just after Mcfadden left the quick burst you need to hit them Miller didnt have. Receivers didnt really have a chance to get in a groove and Ford's two drops kind of killed two first downs. Only 5 penalties which was almost our quarter average is a plus and the turnover Pryor had was a fourth down desperation play. We will be good on offense and better on defense the return game is what really upset my stomach!!
The biggest problem we had last night offensively was trying to force plays that were not there. This is not unusual for a Greg Knapp offense. The Texans struggled with this mentality for the past few seasons, and is why they didn't beat the Ravens in the playoffs last season. Knapp could be a weakness in our offense.
With that said Carson has got to do better at his checkdowns. He did not look like a veteran QB last night. Leinart looked better. I just wonder how many times Palmer and Leinart apologized to Jacoby for hitting him in the hands?
Though that was without D-Moore and Tawain Jones offensively, and Richard Seymour and Curry did not play. Burris looked good in Curry's place.
Our defense did look a little more polished, but it was against a very anemic Cowboys' offense that cannot block a fly. Let's see how we do against Arizona on Friday. Hopefully, we will look and play differently on the offensive side of the ball; and stay agressive on the defensive side.
Pretty much the game I saw as well Asher and I am actually really not fussed about the shutout, if it wasnt for King being pretty awful at holding the football with Punts and Carmona inability to actually kick the ball in a straight line we'd of had 6 on the board and won..
Remember we went from Dmac to our 4th RB in Miller who is truly a short yardish bruiser. If Goodson and Jones had of been fit I would have expected a completely different game as really we had nothing to offer in the running game.
I have seen the INT a couple of times on replay and as much as this is an ill advised pass from Palmer I would also put a lot of the blame on Ford. The ball was catchable and seemed to me to go through his hands on the way to an INT, yes it was double coverage but we have seen Ford make these clutch plays in the past and there was no need for Palmer to assume that Ford would go on to have a pretty awful day, maybe his worst in a Raider uniform? but it is what it is...
We know what the offence can do, we know the weapons Knapp and Palmer have..With Dmac fit, Moore, DHB, Reece, Ford, (maybe I can add Streater to the list) and if Criner takes his training form to the season, we'll be ok.
I really wanted to see what our brand new D would look like and how if we showed any improvements in discipline and I have to say this WOW!!!!
The change was quite amazing - only 5 penalties for 37 yds compared, from what I remember not 1 false start (this could be wrong, it was 3/4am here) and the Defense was, well, exciting. Blitzes, multiple fronts, good tackling, great run def. Coverage from DVD and Bartell could have been better but nothing to really moan about, and kept a dangerous Cowboys offence well away from the in zone.
People will moan about Pryor but he is our 3rd string QB, not sure what people want him to be. He is young, he will learn. I just wish he would throw the ball with more power. Considering he is such a big man he seriously needs to work on his arm strength and technique. Asher was continually pointing out that the balls nose was down. I did get uncomfortable with his bad throws and then relying on the run. To me this is what we were slating Tebow for last year but a lot of the Raidernation, on Twitter, started getting all excited with comparisons to Vick! Pryor is not even in the same league as Vick. He is well and truly in a Tebow mold. Bad arm, relies on his legs. Bad combo.
Anyways, I'm away for a couple of weeks so I am likely to miss the next couple of games! Will be checking in Asher and reading up.... looking forward to it.
Chin up Nation! Last night answered gave a lot of answers into a positive future!
@ukraider78 Very obvious Miller was a short yard back, he seemed more worried about coughing up the ball than to get yards. Fords dropped passes are not surprising but still disappointing, how much time do you really need at a professional level to catch a ball? I saw nothing spectacular from Criner who apparently has been a star thru training camp. Dmac was never a doubt, just his health. Leinhart looked solid as did Carson, Pryor struggled as expected but fun to watch. I was very very happy to see the new D.
@Raidah @ukraider78 In some ways i am happy with what happened with Criner yesterday. With his success in camp, it got to his head a bit, asking for the extra cash which he quite rightly wasn't given. Yesterday was welcome to the NFL! The catch that he dropped from ML was a perfect example. He was already thinking ahead,
I hope he gathers himself now and refocuses! He certainly has the potential like Moore did last year but Moore never took his mind away from the game..