Oakland Raiders: The Backup RB Dilemma has Vastly Changed!
Jerry Rump – Aug 27, 2012
The song by Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight,” sums up the pregame feeling all around the Raider Nation as this third preseason game against the Detroit Lions was one where the team had to show up and play well, to put it mildly!
Of course, while the showing was completely dominant in nearly every category statistically, the drumming could always be better. After all, Phil is a fantastic drummer, but he’s no Neal Peart and the Raiders are on their first step to perfecting their play, so optimistically cautious is the best way to describe going forward from here.
Still, what a special moment this was for Raider fans everywhere, because ever since the New Era began, we have been on the edge of our seats waiting for the Silver and Black to show us what we all knew they possessed. I have never been so excited over a preseason game—ever—and they did not disappoint.
A huge question going into this game revolved around the absolutely dismal performance thus far in the preseason from the backup running backs. It seemed like a proverbial thorn in our side as the offense clearly struggled in the first two performances against the Cowboys and the Cardinals. And it appeared like the backup running game was going to be a huge weak spot.
When it comes to a backup for Darren McFadden, we all recognize the importance of this position and have been waiting for someone to step in and relieve our anxiety.
Enter Taiwan Jones, who has been injured and not been on the field pretty much all through training camp and the aforementioned preseason games. Jones was absolutely explosive in his season debut and left Detroit defenders looking at each other in disbelief as he blazed by them like The Roadrunner toying with Wile E. Coyote.
He racked up 50 yards on 10 carries, but it was his unrealistic speed and desire to earn the backup job that impressed me. Jones looked to take on tacklers physically as well and even vaulted over one to get to the first down marker. Taiwan announced with clear authority that he was the man that most wants the job of being the number two on the Raiders’ roster.
It is at this point that I would be remiss if I did not mention the most impressive runner from the game last night.
Terrelle Pryor came in and took the game over as he showcased his dominant speed in the course of racking up 90 yards on 5 carries with a TD and a 59 yard run that ignited O.co Coliseum as Raider Nation has been dreaming of seeing something positive from this young player.
But the Pryor show did not end there as he also threw for 137 yards on only 5 attempts with two amazing touchdowns to rookie WR, Juron Criner. To say this performance was the highlight of the preseason is just not giving it enough credit.
Watching these two young players breakout was a very special moment that leaves many in Raider Nation craving more, no check that, fiending for more like Pookie at the “Enterprise” in New Jack City.
To say that head coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp need to figure out some ways to implement these two into the offense this season is a huge understatement. I have all the faith though that the “Mad Chemist” will not disappoint us in the least as he is no doubt scheming in his lab right now on how to build off this performance for Thursday night’s final preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Now it’s time to come down from the emotional high that this game provided and get back to work.
First, Carson Palmer must get these interceptions under control and that is all I have to say about that.
While Terrell stole the show and everybody jumped on his bandwagon, it is ludicrous to assume he can do this week in and week out and he still has a lot of learning and work to put in before we can seriously even begin to consider him a quarterback. Just keepin it real Raider Nation.
The running back spot has a serious issue with who will make the squad in the number three spot as both Mike Goodson and Lonyae Miller have a lot of work to put in before we make the final cuts. Goodson appeared better last night, but that is only because he did not fumble any of his seven carries. He only racked up 18 yards and was not the physical presence the Raiders appear to lack in the running game ever since Michael Bush left in free-agency.
Lonyae Miller still appears to get the nod for number three as he is at least consistent and can provide a physical presence...maybe? He saw limited action last night and got 13 yards on 4 carries.
Look for the battle to be decided Thursday night as Jones will likely get the start, but these two should fight it out for a spot on the team during the majority of the game.
The time to get outrageously excited and predict a Super Bowl is still too far away to even suggest, but last night did provide an example of how good the Raiders can play. There is far too much drama left to unfold and week one is the next test to see if this is indeed the real team that will show up week in and week out.
However, if this was the big test of the preseason, then the Oakland Raiders are well on their way to putting the league on notice that no more will you haters be able to take us for a joke. Things will regress to the way they used to be when the haters cowered at the mention of the Raiders and ran like scared villagers amidst a raid from a mad mob of barbaric Berserkers whom appeared from the ocean suddenly and without warning being blown in on a blusterous Autumn Wind!
It is a good day to be a Raider and I don’t know about you, but the season cannot start quickly enough! Next up is the final preseason test to see who makes the squad and to iron out some of the timing and performance issues. All in all though, it is indeed a new era in Oakland and things are about to get very interesting in the AFC West.
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