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Friday, August 14, 2009
Raiders: The good, bad and who knows?

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Let's break down the Raiders' 31-10 preseason opening win over visiting Dallas.

The first thing we are going to do is disregard the outcome. While teams always want to win, winning and losing in the preseason doesn't mean a thing. If you don't agree, please refer to the one-season second tenure of Art Shell as the Raiders' coach in 2006. Oakland went 4-1 in the preseason and went 2-14 in the regular season.

What is worthwhile in the preseason is the performance of key players and key units. Let's take a look at what worked and what didn't work for the Raiders on Thursday night.

The Good

Chaz Schilens: The second-year receiver (a seventh-round pick in 2008) caught five passes for 52 yards. Schilens has the look of a player who could be a No. 1 receiver very soon. Schilens has had a great camp and he opened more eyes Thursday night.

Darren McFadden: This is the Raiders' best offensive weapon. He ran for 63 yards on four carries, including a 45-yard gain. Oakland needs to revolve the offense around this special player.

Reserve quarterbacks: Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye combined to complete 16 of 28 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. No. 2 quarterback Jeff Garcia didn't play because of injury. Gradkowski and Frye are fighting to be the No. 3. This seems like it will be a good battle.

The Bad

Penalties: The Raiders have been one of the least disciplined teams in the NFL over the past several years. It continued against the Cowboys. Oakland committed 14 penalties for 107 yards. The theme of this camp was learning and the Raiders showed they need to work on the fundamentals more.

Stanford Routt: Routt has been competing for the right cornerback job with Chris Johnson. His campaign just took a big hit. Routt was beaten badly by the Cowboys.

Asomugha hurt: Superstar left cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha left the game with a heel injury. It may not be serious, but the last thing the Raiders need to see is their best player leave any game.

Incomplete

JaMarcus Russell: Russell was OK. He completed 6-for-9 passes for 50 yards, but nothing really stood out.

Darrius Heyward Bey: He top pick had one catch for eight yards.

The first-team defense: It was an uneven effort. The Cowboys gained their yardage in a limited role. But it the Oakland defense wasn't destroyed.