In their first preseason game of 2014, the Oakland Raiders fell to the Minnesota Vikings 10-6. It saw the debut of two of the top rookie QBs of this years draft, Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater. The Raiders looked rough as they accumulated 13 penalties for 94 yards, including a false start on Menelik Watson on the first play from scrimmage.
On the Vikings first offensive drive of the game, Matt Cassel sliced the new look Raiders defense and capped it off with a Matt Asiata 1 yard touchdown. While the defense looked extremely rusty, it was the first live competition they’ve had so far this year.
Based on the starting defense, first round rookie Khalil Mack will be dropped into coverage a fair bit. Its promising that Jason Tarver will move him around the formation frequently and try to form him into an impact defender.
The offense did not do much better. Maurice Jones-Drew provided good spark as a runner, gaining good yardage. However, the starting offense didnt gain a first down until their third series when Darren McFadden took his sole touch of the game for 23 yards.
None of the receivers showed well as the passing game sputtered due to play calling. Derek Carr was not allowed to get into a rhythm before being pulled in favor of Matt McGloin. Brice Butler and Greg Jenkins led the team with 4 catches each.
In addition to his false start to begin the game, Menelik Watson had a bad night. While Brian Robison didnt give him fits, other Vikings sure did. Watson didn’t dominate his opponenets and frequently was walked back into the QB, who managed to get away each time. If Watson continues to let up pressure, the Raiders will be forced to look at other options.
I also pointed out special teams would be crucial for some of the fringe players to earn roster spots. Tonight, none of them helped their case as the special teams units did as poorly as the offense and defense. They let up a blocked field goal and let the Vikings return men get chunks of yardage. The only special team player who did well was third string running back and kick returner Latavius Murray, who got a 21 yard return on his only return of the night. Murray was also one of the best running backs on offense as he gained 28 yards on seven carries.
The lone bright spot on defense was 7th round rookie defensive end Shelby Harris, who had a strip sack of Teddy Bridgewater.
In all, it was a bad night for the Silver and Black, but now that they have tape of their shortfalls, it makes it just as easy to correct mistakes and prepare for their next preseason game against the Detroit Lions.