Oakland Raider Preseason Week 2: Veterans with room to Improve.
Jimmy Hal – Aug 21, 2012
In week two of the preseason, a team typically wants to improve on the mistakes they made in week one. The Oakland Raiders did do that. The game versus the Arizona Cardinals was much more intense than the one versus the Dallas Cowboys. There were much bigger plays on each side of the football and a lot of unknown talent emerged.
Still, the Raiders had room to improve. Veterans who this team will be greatly counting on had their moments of shame. Some of these vets are players you do not expect to struggle, but remember, it is preseason for everyone.
Here are a few veterans who threw up red flags and undoubtedly have room to improve.
Carson Palmer: In week two of the preseason Carson Palmer still looked like a quarterback in transition. Palmer has raved about this new offense and how he is much further along in camp compared to last season's last minute trade. Fans have yet to see that level of comfortability during this preseason. Palmer looks rushed as a passer and unsure as to where his receivers are on the feild. Other times he looks to have too much faith in his arm strength, which clearly is not the same since 2008.
Palmer is clearly still learning the offense and is heavily dependant on Darren McFadden's explosion in the running game. With such a big investment and high hopes for the playoffs in 2012, this is not what fans want to see headed into week one of the regular season on Monday Night Footbal versus the San Diego Chargers. Palmer is going to have to clean it up.
Demarcus Van Dyke: During camp, Demarcus Van Dyke was reported to have made vast improvment since the 2011 season. That may be true, but practice has not yet translated to the games thus far. Van Dyke still looks skiddish when the ball is in the air; afraid to turn his head to make a play. At the NFL Level, being in good position is only half the battle.
Van Dyke was victimized a number of times versus the Arizona Cardinals, none of which were by Larry Fitzgerald unlike the 2011 preseason. This time, it was second and third team receivers making Van Dyke look foolish in coverage. This must be corrected as Van Dyke is expected to have a bigger role and more playing time headed into the regular season.
Mike Goodson: Chalk it up to game jitters, but Mike Goodson hopes to have a second chance at a first impression. Held out due to injury in week one, Goodson was anxious to get playing time in his Oakland Raider debut. Goodson however, did not impress. As a runner he was indecisive when making his cuts and was stopped for a loss a number of times because of it.
Goodson also did the worst thing a ball carrier can do—he put the ball on the carpet, not once, but twice. During the second fumble, Goodson suffered yet another injury. Though Goodson has not been seen as injury prone, he has been since becoming a Raider, and with a brief injury history with the silver and black, getting injured in a game also qualifies as struggles.
John Condo: It is rare you see a long snapper truly struggle, especially one who is a pro-bowler, but when you do it does tend to stand out. It may be nothing alarming, but John Condo has struggled with high snaps in weeks one and two of the preseason.
The Raiders special teams has been one of the best and most consistent parts of their team over the past decade. With a defense trying to improve and an offense still looking for it's rhythm, now is not the time for special teams to start messing up. With Shane Lechler's return to practice, Condo's nerves should be in check as he has a comfort level with the All-Star punter.
The Raiders are still a team on the rise and have a whole lot of upside. Now it is just time to iron out the wrinkles and look fresh for a playoff run in 2012.
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