The Oakland Raiders hosted the Green Bay Packers for their third preseason game, the one most consider a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
With injuries still a concern, coach Jon Gruden elected to pull his starting offense early on in the first quarter. Starting quarterback Derek Carr got his team in scoring position early on, but only settled for a field goal. He found Amari Cooper for a 49-yard gain, something the coaches were surely pleased about.
Despite the starters still not playing a full game, there were still some indicators on what to expect from the Raiders this season.
Raiders still looking for backup quarterback
Gruden and the coaching staff are looking at the backup quarterback position as a shaky one, and we know that because Gruden said so after the game.
“You know, we’re going to continue to work, continue to see who’s available,” Gruden said. “I thought there were some good moments tonight and there were some moments tonight that weren’t good.”
Connor Cook had a stellar first game against the Lions, but has looked shaky since then. Last night didn’t help, completing just 6/15 passes for 72 yards and an interception. On his interception, Cook under threw the receiver who beat his defender for what looked like a touchdown. Cook also threw a pick-six that got called back by a holding call.
E.J. Manuel played better last night, completing 8/12 passes for 87 yards but fumbled the ball twice. While Manuel’s play was better, Gruden wants to see consistency from his quarterback room as a whole.
“It’s been too inconsistent but I’m not going to say much more tonight until I see the tape, but we’re going to continue to evaluate it,” said Gruden.
Raiders have young defensive pieces
The Raiders are still without defensive star Khalil Mack but defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and the coaches have to like what they see out of their young defensive players.
Arden Key and the rest of the young defensive linemen were applying pressure in the Packers backfield all night. Fadol Brown led the team with 1.5 sacks, as the squad finished with five total. The biggest help the defensive ends are getting is the push up the middle where Raiders defensive tackles are able to apply pressure for the first time in years.
Rookie Arden Key looks legit
He won’t fill Mack’s shoes, but third-round draft pick Key is doing his best. Key had another great game on Friday night, pressuring the quarterback multiple times.
Key didn’t officially finish with a sack but forced the quarterback up in the pocket numerous times to allow a Raiders defensive tackle to swallow up the quarterback.
It will be interesting to see how the Raiders rotate Key in when Mack returns to the team but it certainly looks like the bright lights of the NFL aren’t too much for him.
Raiders defense looks improved
It’s only a preseason game and the Packers sat out star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but the Raiders defense certainly looks better.
The Raiders gave up just 73 rushing yards all game, to go along with 193 passing yards. While the preseason is not always an indicator of how the defense will play, the team certainly looks more disciplined under new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
Donald Penn looks uncomfortable
It was never going to be easy but offensive lineman Donald Penn certainly looks uncomfortable with his switch to the right tackle position. Penn missed much of camp so he hasn’t had a ton of time to get accustomed to the switch, but Packers pass rusher Clay Matthews exposed him on Friday.
Matthews was clearly too quick for Penn who struggled to get his footwork right. You have to wonder if Gruden will have seen enough and decide to swap his rookie Kolton Miller and Penn to increase the overall play of the Raiders offensive line.