Oakland Raiders Translate Offseason Hype into Impressive Preseason Opener

The Oakland Raiders came into their first preseason game riding a lot of hype from the offseason, and that new attitude manifested on the field Friday night.

After two plays, the St. Louis Rams received the ball. You can imagine the collective eye rolls from spectators and NFL analysts. Same old Raiders, right? No.

After quarterback Nick Foles found tight end Lance Kendricks deep to the right for 26 yards and wide receiver Tavon Austin on a short pass to the left for 35 yards, everything faded to black for the Rams offense.


Crisp Starting Offense Struggles in Red Zone

The Raiders stood their ground and forced the Rams offense to settle for a field goal on a solid opening drive led by Foles.

Quarterback Derek Carr returned the favor, finding wide receiver Amari Cooper in a flurry of plays to open the Raiders' first drive. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave made a point to involve Cooper early and often with short, easy passes and a reverse run. Cooper didn’t show signs of jitters and looked comfortable with Carr against the Rams' first-unit defense.

Running back Latavius Murray showed off his elusiveness when he picked up a flashy 17-yard gain early in the first drive.

Red-zone efficiency was the only problem for the starting unit. Oakland had to settle for a field goal after moving the ball consistently between the 20-yard lines. In the subsequent drive, Carr tossed an interception inside the 10-yard line in a miscommunication with Cooper—cornerback Trumaine Johnson forced a turnover in the end zone.


Front 7 Shows Strength, Pass Defense Untested

Defensive end Khalil Mack didn’t record any sacks, but he collapsed the pocket twice. His tenacity allowed defensive end Shelby Harris to record a sack of his own. He’ll eventually turn those hurries into sacks, but in the meantime...

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