Amid Disappointing Loss, Raiders Did Have A Few Bright Spots

The Raiders have taken a lot of criticism since their up and down season opener, but there were actually bright spots that have been buried by negative headlines in the days since.

The Raiders actually played three reasonable quarters against the Rams and even though the fourth quarter was a disaster, there were a few pleasant surprises that should be encouraging for Jon Gruden and company.

– With Khalil Mack gone, Paul Guenther is presiding over one of the real no-name defenses in the league. Guenther’s gang played well for most of the night and it was a welcome change to see an Oakland secondary that didn’t blow an assignment in coverage on every other play. Gareon Conley barely had his name called all night, which is a good thing at his position. It’s also good when he leaves a game with no new injuries.

– For all the questions about offensive line coach Tom Cable, the Raiders look to have solved some of their problems running the ball. Oakland running backs ran for 85 yards on 20 carries against the Rams.

Definitely an improvement over last year, but where were the play action passes? For sure, it wasn’t Todd Downing who took them when he left town.

– Kolton Miller was deemed by some to be the worst first-round pick of the draft, but he was the second highest-graded Raider offensive lineman in week one. According to Pro Football Focus, Miller gave up three pressures on 47 pass-block snaps. He was beaten twice with a bull rush and once with an inside move. With his length, he’s going to be a handful for speed rushers to beat around the corner.

On the right side of the line, Donald Penn actually held his own, too. It looks like Penn is close to being fully recovered from the foot injury that caused him to miss the entire offseason.

Obviously, Jared Cook had a huge night and Marshawn Lynch looked good, too. Maybe Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson will be able to join the fun next week. Gruden made a point to recognize that Cooper was open downfield a few times on Monday night. Some took that as a message to Carr, but it just as easily could’ve been a vote of confidence in Cooper.

But who knows. It wouldn’t be the first time Gruden called out one of his quarterbacks.

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