Although the score of a preseason game does not always represent how team fared. Yet, the Raiders defeated the Detroit Lions, 16-10. Even meaningless preseason games contain truckloads of valuable insight and information.
For the first time in years, the Raiders played with a scheme on both sides of the ball. Under Jon Gruden, the offense looked sharp. The routes appeared expertly devised. As a result, the Raiders look like a different team. On the other side, Paul Guenther’s defense flew to the ball, making an immediate improvement over 2017. The players flashed and played with purpose.
For the past two years, Connor Cook flowed between lost and limited. However, with Gruden, his game sharpened. Cook’s throws arrived quickly and on target. For the game, Cook complete 11 of 19 passes for 141 yards and 1 touchdown. From rollouts to climbing the ladder, Cook demonstrated the ability to move the pocket and still find the open man.
When Jon Gruden returned, he promised an effort to pound the ball. The Raiders attempted to thump the Lions upfront. More importantly, the offensive line looked like attacked the Lions. Denver Kirkland moved his feet and used great hands to silence Detroit. If not an exchange fumble and holding calls, Oakland blocked with a newfound ferocity.
First PJ Hall and Mo Hurst flash inside, wreaking havoc and Chris Warren (13 carries, 86 yards) and Nick Nelson make splash plays. I hope that these four will give the Raiders depth. Meanwhile, Kolton Miller’s hold negative a 60-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch. In addition, Eddy Pineiro kicked a 48-yarder and Johnny Townshend dropped two punts inside the 20. Overall, the first-year players played well.
While the Raiders still need to work on penalties, the team played aggressive and did not press. Yet, Oakland exploded out of the gates. If the Raiders can keep this energy, brighter days lie ahead for the Raiders. In essence, this game showed actual progress.