Raiders Talking Points: 10 Preseason Observations

It’s only preseason – and only two games into preseason for that matter – but it’s not too early to create a few talking points. So here are 10 observations at the midway point of the Raiders’ preseason.

1 – Sean Smith is the real deal. He’s the best cornerback on the Raiders’ roster and David Amerson is going to have the ball thrown his way a lot this year. Amerson had four interceptions last year – expect him to easily reach that number again in 2016.

2 – The Raiders really want Ben Heeney to step into his new role as “quarterback” of the defense. He certainly flies around the field, but does he have the size, discipline, and instincts to be a real factor against the run? So far it’s been mixed reviews on Heeney.

3 – Amari Cooper creates space so easily – or at least he makes it appear easy. Eliminate the drops and improve his timing/chemistry with Derek Carr and there’s no limit to how good Cooper could be in his second season. That said, it’s a little strange how Cooper and Carr don’t quite have the chemistry that Carr seems to have with Michael Crabtree.

4 – Latavius Murray deserves more comparisons to Darren McFadden. They’re both tall, upright runners who don’t have great lateral movement and rarely make the first man miss. Hue Jackson made McFadden a star when DMC was healthy – can Bill Musgrave do the same with Murray?

5 – DeAndre Washington looks the part. Statistically, he’s no better than Murray and he’s played mostly against second-team defensive units, but once Washington is acclimated, don’t be surprised if his role is significant.

6 – D.J. Hayden looks the same as ever, but if there was ever a time, it needs to be now. One good season would make Hayden a lot of money. Blame the first three year on injuries, coaches, or whatever you want – if Hayden can play, this is the year we’re going to find out.

7 – Offensively, it appears George Atkinson III can do as much as Taiwan Jones, who turned 28 in July. Jones, however, continues to make an impact on special teams. If Atkinson III can close the gap on special teams, he’ll be on someone’s 53-man roster sooner than later.

8 – Wouldn’t it be nice if the Raiders could find a kick/punt returner? The Cowboys find a returner on a game show and the Raiders can’t find one in all of college and professional football. Come on, Reggie McKenzie, find a guy who’s hard to tackle and can also run fast.

9 – It probably won’t happen under Jack Del Rio and Bill Musgrave, but wouldn’t it be nice to spread out the defense and let Derek Carr go to work? For some reason, and John Middlekauff alluded to this during the Packers game, the Raiders’ offensive doesn’t feel like a ground and pound unit.

10 – “It’s only preseason” so no need to worry? What coach says, “It’s only practice, so no need to worry”? The Raiders were embarrassed in Green Bay. Call it what you want, but the Packers looked like a team that understands how to win. The Raiders are closing the gap, but imagine if the Packers had played Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.

Chalk it up as a bad day and move on, I guess.

twitter: @raidersbeat


4 thoughts on “Raiders Talking Points: 10 Preseason Observations

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your last point. Saying “It’s just pre-season” is ok, to a point, but you should NEVER, EVER get completely shutdown and embarrassed with your 1st unit for an entire first half like they did. They looked like the team from 201-2013 out there today……boys amongst men….just awful!

  2. Man you are telling the truth. Heeney scares me against the run. Stop flying around the ball and go to the ball by shedding blocks. Murrays inability to move side to side hurts us so much. Musgrave loads up his weapons but rarely fires. Mckenzie still hasn’t found anything close to a threat in the return game in 5 years. Our first team offense hasn’t scored a td yet.. Preseason or not I’m concerned. Amerson is gonna have to step his game up. He does get burned quite a bit. I don’t like Irvin at DE against the run. It doesn’t work man straight up. It just seems like Norton and Musgrave are being outclassed by other coaches or is it just me?

  3. On a 1 – 10 basis how concerned am I by this one pre season game (because Arizona was fine).


    We are 0-0

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