By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, August 12th, 2010 at 10:20 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Some observations from the Raiders’ 17-9 over the Dallas Cowboys to to consider or disregard:
– Impressive showing from the Raiders defensive line, with the only downside being if they can get this much natural pressure, someone will think it’s a good idea for John Marshall to scrap any ideas of blitzing and moving Nnamdi Asomugha creatively and let the front four handle everything.
– Like the idea of having Lamarr Houston back in the game at the end, getting a feel of what it’s like to close out a pseudo-game in the NFL. Hard to imagine Houston and Matt Shaughnessy being any more impressive considering their experience level.
– If the Raiders had made Hue Jackson available at some point in the last 200 days, it would have been all hearts and flowers. Now everyone will want to know what’s wrong with his offense.
– Would have been nice for Darrius Heyward-Bey to get a catch or two to demonstrate his offseason progress isn’t a mirage.
– Two of the late heroes of the Raiders win were running back Michael Bennett (68 yards, 12 carries, one catch for 33 yards) and safety Jerome Boyd, and there’s a chance neither of them will be around when the season opens in Tennessee. Rock Cartwright is at present the No. 1 kickoff return specialist and plays on other special teams as well. Boyd’s touchdown was a essentially a gift and seventh-round draft pick Stevie Brown, as well as Hiram Eugene, are more likely to stick on the final 53 along with Tyvon Branch, Michael Huff and Mike Mitchell.
– Yes, the Cowboys had already played a game _ supposedly an advantage. They played it on Sunday in Canton, meaning they had a day off and a couple of light practices before playing again. Let’s not overplay their competitive edge.
– Can the Raiders keep both Ricky Brown and Travis Goethel? Both played well. Quinton Groves had his moments as well. The three starters _ Kamerion Wimbley, Rolando McClain and Trevor Scott _ are etched in stone in terms of the 53-man roster, health permitting. Then there’s Thomas Howard, a starter for three -plus years. A nice problem to have.
– I don’t understand field goal attempts with established kickers in the preseason. Why bother on a play with a 99 percent success rate when you can find out something about players you’re not sure about in a game-type situation on fourth down? Oakland’s field goal attempt with Swayze Waters was a waste of time.
– If stopping the run is an attitude to be displayed at all times, giving up 66 yards on 22 carries was a good start for the Oakland defense.
– Nice catch by Nick Miller and Johnnie Lee Higgins and Yamon Figurs did some good things, but keep in mind we still haven’t seen Chaz Schilens or Jacoby Ford. There’s a long way to go at wide receiver.
– Penciling Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell into the starting lineup on the basis of handling some tired Dallas scrubs is a bit of a reach, but it’s nice to dream of some young blood ready to help right away.
– You wonder if Colt Brennan will get a chance to take a snap in a Raiders uniform. If Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye get back on the field this week, he could be UFL bound within a couple of weeks. Kyle Boller’s numbers (12 of 21, 148 yards, 1 TD, 94.9 passer rating) were good, but he got lucky when the Cowboys dropped an easy interception in the red zone. Had the Cowboys held the ball, the perception of his game would be much different.
– The Raiders were 2-for-12 on third down, and the first look at the Jason Campbell offense wasn’t encouraging. No turnovers, though _ and that alone makes it an upgrade from you-know-who. If Oakland can approach its 4.4 yards per carry average against the Cowboys consistently, the passing game should come along eventually. Campbell told reporters afterward the Raiders hadn’t gone deep into their playbook and were keeping it simple.
(JaMarcus Russell, by the way, told ESPN he’d turned up positive for codeine in 2007 after being selected by the Raiders with the No. 1 overall pick but said he doesn’t have a drug problem. Guess that rules out the Raiders being oblivous to Russell’s problems).
– Coach Tom Cable said linebacker Sam Williams sustained a concussion and Walter McFadden had a shoulder injury (although he returned to the game after leaving). Kicker Swayze Waters had a calf strain.
– Friday is a player’s day off, with practice resuming Friday. Coach Tom Cable is scheduled to be available to reporters by conference call Friday evening.