Oakland Raiders vs Dallas Cowboys: Raider Nation Times Rant with Elias Trejo
Elias Trejo – Aug 14, 2012
The Oakland Raiders lost their first preseason game to the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 3-0. There's no real exciting way to talk about a game that ended in both teams scoring three points combined.
You know a game is bad when Ricky Martin's hair has more highlights than the entire game. It appeared that both teams tried their hardest to not score, but the Cowboys wasted an opportunity to end the game in a 0-0 tie when they hit a field goal in the 3rd quarter.
While this was the first preseason game, both teams failed to perform in front of a nationally televised audience. So what can anyone really make out of a game that had less action than the last Twilight Movie? Let's find out.
We found out very little about the Raiders offense on Monday Night. The obvious would be that if Oakland gives the ball to McFadden good things happen. McFadden averaged 12.6 yards per touch in his first action back since returning from injury. We also learned that if Carson Palmer throws the ball to the opposing team, bad things happen. Last year Palmer threw 13 TDs and 16 INTs, that is a ratio that cannot happen in 2012. They say an INT a day is a great way to keep the playoffs away, so let's avoid those in 2012.
The Palmer to Jacoby Ford connection did not look very good. Three passes were thrown to Ford on Monday, two were dropped and one was intercepted. I guess you could say those passes were "Ford Tough" to complete. These are issues that can and should be fixed heading toward the season, so there is no reason to hit the panic button.
Speaking of hitting the panic button, where are the running backs? Everyone talks about McFadden having injury issues in his career, but it's not a good sign when his backups are injured and unable to play. Getting reps in the preseason will be important for Tawain Jones and Mike Goodson as they try fill the big shoes that Michael Bush left behind as McFadden's back up.
It's hard to compete for a back up job if both guys aren't able to put something together during preseason games.
While we're on the topic of backups, I felt the back up quarterbacks looked solid. Matt Lienart looked in control and performed very well, even though he wasn't able to score. Terrelle Pryor showed he can move well in the pocket and create extra time for his receivers to get open. As he improves and gains experience he'll be able to find these receivers and hopefully improve his accuracy and get the ball to them.
I can see Pryor becoming one of the leagues most dangerous quarterbacks if he can put it all together.
So who wins the offensive MVP from Monday Nights game? I almost went with nobody, since you can't really have an offensive MVP if your offense doesn't score any points, but I'll give this one to Rod Streater. In the first half he had six catches for 66 yards. This guy is an undrafted free agent out of Temple. He caught 19 passes in his last year with the Owls and now he's making plays in Oakland. He could be one of the best rookie receivers in 2012 if he continues to impress his coaches.
Oakland's defense looked very aggressive early in the game. Tommy Kelly looked great rushing the passer and so did Lamarr Houston. Houston had an opportunity to sack Tony Romo, but he let him slip away and Romo hit Jason Witten on a pass. Unfortunately for Witten, Rolando McClain also hit him two yards behind the line of scrimmage causing the Cowboys to lose yardage and causing Witten to go to the sidelines in pain.
The Cowboys only managed to get 202 total yards as the Raiders defense looked to be the strongest unit of the night. Oakland held Dallas to 2.7 yards per carry and 5.5 yards per pass which is similar to my nephew's pee wee football teams stat line in the 5th grade.
The defensive line is going to be one of the biggest strengths once again for the defense as their starting four could be the best in the league. The linebackers impressed as well against Dallas. McClain looked good in his limited time on the field as did Phillip Wheeler.
Wheeler could prove to be an excellent addition for the Raiders as he is great against the run and looked solid in coverage. The secondary struggled early, but got back on track as the pressure against the quarterback improved. Cowboys back up quarterback, Kyle Orton, was leading a drive late in the second half and found safety Mike Mitchell wide open on a pass. Mitchell, who had a strong game, was pleasantly surprised at Orton's accuracy as the ball hit him right in between the numbers.
The Raiders have many young pieces on defense and that provides Oakland with quality depth that may be needed later in the season. One of those pieces, DeMarcus Van Dyke, struggled a little in his first action of the year after doing so well in training camp practices. He'll have to improve his performance if he wants an opportunity to compete for the starting job.
So who wins MVP? Mitchell has got to take this one. Besides his interception he recorded two tackles, deflected one pass and delivered two bone crunching hits.
The special teams didn't perform very well during the game as they missed two field goals, muffed a few punts and struggled in the return game. The first preseason game isn't much to get too excited or worried about.
This is really just a good time for the coaches to look at the players that will make up the final 15 to 20 spots on the roster. The third game of preseason is known as the dress rehearsal for the season, so if our offense still looks out of sync at that point, we can all start to worry. Until then, there is still plenty to be excited about for the 2012 season.
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