The Oakland Raiders started this week’s preseason matchup against the Detroit Lions extremely flat, especially defensively. On the Lions’ first offensive series, Matthew Stafford marched the Lions down the field only to find a wide-open Golden Tate for the first points of the game. Luckily, the Lions had problems of their own when they couldn’t make the 33-yard experimental extra point, which we later found out was the difference between the two teams as the Raiders won 27-26.
Dennis Allen said in a press conference after the game that he knows their defense isn’t where they need to be yet but later in that same press conference he said “I’m not discouraged by where we are at defensively, I think we are going to be just fine defensively, I think we are going to play good defense so its really not a concern of mine”.
Coach Allen should stick to his first comment in making sure that the Raiders’ defense gets to where they need to be because the secondary looked lost for the whole first quarter. Matthew Stafford had an open receiver on almost all of his first drive completions, which made watching pretty difficult.
Coming into this preseason we knew Charles Woodson and Carlos Rogers were the only experience the Raiders’ secondary had but the amount of open space some of the Lions receivers were getting was very concerning, especially when it comes time for Oakland to face QBs like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick. If it wasn’t for the Raiders’ offense closing the gap with points late in the second quarter, this game could have turned into in absolute blowout.
Derek Carr and Matt McGloin deserve most of the offensive credit considering Matt Schaub threw an interception through the hands of James Jones and three possessions later threw another ball that looked like an easy pick-6 for Rashean Mathis if he could have held on to the football.
Schaub ended up going 8-13 with 87 yards before Carr took over with a touchdown drive before he exited the game with a head and rib injury. Hopefully Schaub is getting this all out of his system now so he can have a breakout season, because at this rate he won’t be the Raiders’ starting QB.
The last concern the Raiders need to face before going into their third preseason game is the amount of injuries that have already been sustained. If the Raiders expect to have any success this season they must stay healthy and in just two preseason games there has been eleven injuries. I’m not saying injuries don’t or shouldn’t happen because they do happen all the time and no one wants to be injured but five of those eleven injuries were to defensive backs: Tyvon Branch, Chimdi Chekwa, Neiko Thorpe, Brandian Ross and Usama Young. These injuries could make the Raiders’ secondary issue more long term considering we don’t know when any of these defensive backs are going to be healthy enough to return.
Depth was something that Coach Allen has valued all preseason camp as something that was going to make the Raiders a better team this season. Well Coach Allen, let’s try to make sure these depth guys stay healthy through the preseason so they can actually help the Raiders when it matters (regular season).