Oakland Raiders v Detroit Lions - Rookie Standouts
David Wilson – Aug 27, 2012
This has certainly been by far the easiest article to write this pre-season, with so many of the Oakland Raiders' young players having great games in the win over the Detroit Lions. What was great to see this week, was some impressive play from a couple of players who had not shown much so far.
Even with a very limited draft, Reggie McKenzie has put together a very impressive rookie class.
So who were the real winners this week?
Juron Criner WR – After lighting it up in camp with some great catches, Juron Criner finally got to show what he could do in a game with two catches for 115 yards and both for touchdowns. His first one, a 39 yard touchdown, was exactly the kind of play that Criner was signed to make. The defensive back had good coverage, but Criner was a big and strong enough to go up and take the ball away.
The second was different, catching the ball in stride deep across the middle, then showing the strength to slip the tackle of the lone defender and run untouched 76 yards for a spectacular score.
Criner did drop a pass in the 3rd quarter over the middle that would have resulted in a first down, but he must be happy with his work on the day. He really announced his arrival against the Lions in style.
Miles Burris LB – Whilst I have always said that I liked the selection of Miles Burris, he had looked lost through the first two pre-season games. This week was different. He was credited with three tackles, but these were not drag downs or a bump out of bounds, these were real hits!
Burris had two great run stuffs, where he diagnosed the play, then just got himself in the hole and nailed the ball carrier.
When I say ‘nailed’, I mean he hit the guy with a perfect form tackle and just drove him backwards, not giving up an inch of yardage after contact. That kind of tackling is what good defenses are made of. These were great plays by Burris, who played with the kind of violence that all great linebackers have. Like Criner, this was Burris’s coming out party.
Rod Streater WR – What ‘Rookie Standout’ article would be complete without mentioning Rod Streater? Once again in there with the starters, and another five catches for 56 yards, mostly in traffic to show that right now he is Carson Palmer’s go to guy. There is a real chemistry building here, and I just wish I had the wisdom to have selected Streater in my fantasy league.
In NFL teams you need consistency, and that is what Streater brings.
Christo Bilukidi DE – Once again a meaningful contributor in run defense, being almost immovable, and showing surprising agility and hands when bringing in his first interception. He is still showing some value as a pass rusher, but opposing teams have started double teaming him now, leaving others more able to make the plays.
Don’t think his play has dropped off though, it hasn’t.
Tony Bergstrom & Lucas Nix G – Oakland’s two backup guards have had an excellent pre-season, and in all honesty have impressed me more than the starters. You haven’t seen these two struggle at all in the time they have played, and they have generated some real push in the run game.
Both have also protected their quarterback well, and shown good awareness picking up the blitz where needed.
Bergstrom, as the Raiders first draft pick, is a lock to make the final 53, but Nix may not be. I think if the Raiders cut him then they won’t get chance to put him on the practice squad as another team will sign him to their active roster. To be honest, I’m not sold on Mike Briesel or Cooper Carlisle, and Greg Knapp needs a backup plan.
Anyway, let’s hope our Raider rookies can keep up this level of play in their final pre–season game against Seattle on Thursday!
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