Raiders Recap–Preseason Week 1

Raiders 27, Cardinals 23.

Winning is better than losing, and while I find pre-season to be completely meaningless (although less meaningless then an Iowa straw poll), I am paying attention this year because the Raiders were 2-14 in 2006. Here is my analysis. also has in depth analysis of the Raider Nation as well.

Josh McCown looked terrible. The Raiders jumped to a 7-0 lead on a very questionable pass interference call. McCown is simply not the answer.

The starting defense looked solid. The first two drives held Matt Leinart and the Cardinals without a first down. I was concerned that the 3rd drive took the Cardinals from their own 2 to the Raider 38, but it resulted in no points.

The special teams looked good, with Sebastian Janikowski kicking the opening kickoff deep into the Cardinal end zone. He was erratic last year, but it is good to see his leg is still intact. A great special teams play pinned the Cardinals deep, and Lechler continues to be an outstanding punter. He had a 63 yarder, and continues to be reliable.

Kurt Warner should not be a backup anywhere. He was a 2 time NFL MVP, and suffered some injuries. He is healthy now, and should be a starter somewhere. His touchdown pass that tied the game 7-7 was vintage Warner.

Although the Raiders went up 21-7, the offense is still bumbling. An interception return for a touchdown does not count as offense.

Cardinal kicker deserves credit for nailing a 60 yard field goal on the last play of the half. Pre-season or not, he nailed it.

In 2006, the Raiders had a defense that played well, but broke down in the 4th quarter from exhaustion, due to an inept offense. Today was no exception.

Andrew Walter is still a question mark for me. He fumbled way too much last year, but even Al Davis noted that the poor kid took a beating behind a wretched offensive line. Robert Gallery has not reached his potential, but perhaps the problem is the scheme and not the players. How can a team with Art Shell and Jackie Slater not have a good o-line? I do not know, but 2007 has to be better or the quarterback will be killed, whoever he is.

When Andrew Walter had time to throw, he made some good throws. However, a 21-7 lead became a 23-21 deficit in the fourth.

Dante Culpepper fumbled on a couple of his first snaps. I always liked Culpepper, and wanted him to be a Raider in 1999. His knee is the issue, but when he is healty he is a superstar. He threw a gorgeous bomb that was complete for a 50 yard gain. He can do that. The fumbles worry me, but his arm is too strong to ignore. If he plays well in the pre-season, he is the starter, with Andrew Walter the backup and Josh McCown 3rd string.

JaMarcus Russell has to get in to camp. When he does, I think Josh McCown is the odd man out.

Field goals put the Raiders ahead 27-23, but they were not kicked by Seabass. I think a guy was brought in to light a fire under Seabass. Anyway, the Raiders did withstand the Cardinals 3rd string quarterback.

The last play of the game was curious. The Raiders had 4th down and 4 in Cardinals territory with 10 seconds left. They could have kicked a field goal and go up by 7, but a block could have hurt them. I was thinking Culpepper would roll out, and then throw a bomb out of the end zone, using up the clock. Instead, they ran up the middle, and made the first down. However, if that run is stopped, the Cardinals could have tried a hail mary. Luckily it did not come down to that.

The running game was solid for the Raiders, perhaps encouraging the run on the last play.

Ok, so it is too early to refer to the coach as Lame Kiffin. Lane Kiffin has a win under his belt, and while the Raiders started out 4-0 in pre-season last year, winning beats losing.

Of the two wins the Raiders had last year, one was against Pittsburgh, and only because the defense had 5 interceptions of an injured Rothlisberger, including one for 100 yards, which was more yards than the total offense the Raiders had.

The other win was against the Cardinals.

The Raiders have a solid defense, and until proven otherwise, a horrible offense. The quarterback situation is hopeful, but the whole season depends on the offensive line. The 2000 Ravens won a Superbowl with an average offense at best, one that went 5 straight games without an offensive touchdown. These Raiders are nowhere near that level, but an adequate offense will go a long way towards a better season.


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