The Raiders dropped to 0-2 for the 2012 pre-season after losing to the Arizona Cardinals 31-27.
Most observers thought that the 2012 Oakland offense would hit the ground running and it would be the defense that would take time to gel and excel with the new schemes brought in by head coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
However through two pre-season games the defense for the Raiders has looked very good and the offense has yet to score a touchdown.
The offense had two big opportunities to do so - the first on their second drive in the mid first quarter. QB Carson Palmer threw up a pass to rookie WR Rod Streater that he wasn't able to come down with but there was a call of pass interference on the play and the Raiders were given First & Goal at the 1 yard line. They were unable to convert in 3 attempts.
In the second, the Raiders 1st team offense again made it down to the goal line - about 3 yards out - and again was unable to advance in multiple downs. The team settled for fieldgoals by Sebastian Janikowski and he tacked another 46 yarder as well, all in the 1st half. Most of the starters played the entire first half which was the amount of time Allen had scheduled for them to play.
Darren McFadden had some rough running, initially, but showed good burst on a run of 22 yards and he added a reception that went for 17. When he was playing the team was clearly funneling through him and he looked like the most explosive player on the offense by far.
After McFadden left, rookie Rod Streater stood out for the second straight week - he made big play after big play and ended the night with 7 receptions for 43 yards.
It's good for the Raiders that Streater is stepping up because they may be without speedster Jacoby Ford for a time. Ford suffered a foot injury and missed the rest of the game. Ford missed mulitple games with a foot injury in 2011.
Also injured in the game were RB Mike Goodson (chest) and QB Matt Leinart (finger, non throwing hand).
Before getting injured, Goodson was having a nightmare night having two fumbles plus a third lost ball that ended up being ruled down by contact.
The first team defense looked good for the second straight game. After allowing Arizona to drive on them fairly easily on the first posession of the game the defense stiffened and showed good pass rush and run defense. They also sacked starting QB Kevin Kolb for a safety and generally harrassed him all evening.
Special teams had a terrible game - the Raiders special teams consistently gave up yardage on returns while failing to block well for their own returns. They also allowed a blocked punt and a blocked PAT.
Darren McFadden - looks to be fully healthy and when healthy he is dynamic
Rod Streater - the undrafted free agent rookie looks like he's the best receiver on the field with Denarius Moore out.
Chimdi Chekwa - the second year corner has not received the press that fellow CB DeMarcus Van Dyke has in camp but he outshown DVD with an interception and generally tight coverage all day.
Carl Ihenacho - the former practice squader made some solid plays in run coverage and one great play as a pass rusher where he showed a shoulder dip move reminiscent of Kam Wimbley. He hit the QB and forced a fumble that was recovered for a Raiders TD.
Mike Goodson - in his first game back he fumbled 2 times, did not have any great runs and then left with an injury.
Special Teams coach Flemming - his unit played about as poorly as possible. He will have a rough week of meetings.
Starting Offensive Line - the line showed inconsistent push in the run game and Carson Palmer was harrassed in the pocket all night. The line has potential but still needs to put everything together. Today's performance was unacceptable by a seasoned line that has high expectations.
The offensive line was without Wiz due to injury. Parsons is obviously no more than a backup. He better keep Suh off of Palmer next game. Veldheer was a beast out there again and I saw he pushed his guy into the secondary many times. Ausberry had that sweet block when he lead DMC through the hole on his way to a 25 yard scamper. I'm tired of watching DHB jump to catch every ball. The ball he dropped in the endzone would've been caught be any great WR. Streater is definitely a find for us. My only knock on him is that he gets clobbered everytime he catches the ball. I believe Miller should leapfrog Goodson on the depth chart. Criner did have a nice adjustment to Linehart's misplaced ball. Other than that throw, I think Linehart was fantastic in his accuracy. It does show that he played in this system before. Not sure why Allen brought in coaches that established systems that our players aren't accustomed to. West Coast offense (Palmer), ZBS (DMC), etc. Why he didn't bring back Fassel astounds me. Our STs last year was sweet! He also needs to have some testicular fortitude to go for it on 4th and 1 from the goal! We also haven't seen anything for Reece, who is a playmaker in his right. I know he doesn't want to show his cards, but I have a feeling they're not going to utilize him much this year which would be a travesty. Ford better wake up or he might find himself on another team for a 6th or 7th round pick. I like him but he has been a total disappointment this preseason. I believe the Raiders should go after Plaxico. He caught 7 TDs, more than anyone on our team last season. He's a endzone threat and he should come cheap. I'm glad we didn't sign TO after his horrible debut with the Seahawks. Call Ryan Grant as well and him try out, can't be any worse!
You see Asher, this is why some of us wanted to go after Cedric Benson. If McFadden has any health issues, which history indicates we need to consider, then we have to much riding on unproven talent. The knock on Goodson was he had fumble issues. Some might chalk Frday's game up to his injury. I might have been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if he did not have this reputation coming in. But that is his reputation, and based on what I saw Friday, I am really hoping we start considering other options.
Like I said last week, our offensive handicap is Greg Knapp. The crux for the season is not offense though, it is how we play on Special Teams. I'm confident in a few things this season: 1 we won't lose a 4th Quarter lead; 2 we won't have many "blowout" losses like we did last year; and 3 if we are 7-4 going into the last 5 games; with a lineup like we did last season, we won't end the season 1-4 and go 8-8.
JUST WIN, BABY!
I'm hoping Palmer can keep from throwing a INT every game. Also it might be time to look into a vet WR, our guys are beat up already.
I'm not impressed with the offense. Like you said it was the D that we all thought would take some time but the D looks solid, not awesome but solid. The O is gonna take awhile and those roll outs make me nervous. Goodson lived up to his reputation, not impressed with his style of run, I hope TJ can make it back soon. Streater is a pleasant surprise and I'm still waiting for Criner's jaw dropping catches to surface but at least he didn't drop any easy balls. Van Dyke has been the talk of the town but I still see the same player from last year, Checkwa is still my favorite but he got juked on a potential bomb as well. Where are the Busters & Ballers? :-(