Saturday, August 10, 2013
Progress being made in Oakland
By Bill Williamson
Random thoughts from the Oakland Raiders’ 19-17 home win over Dallas:
This season is going to be all about progress for this rebuilding program. And the first step has to be looked at as positive progress.
Dennis Allen has raved about how much this team loves football. It was easy to see Friday night. The Raiders were very spirited and fought to win this game. Every unit worked hard. This is one of the more interesting teams in the league this preseason because there is competition virtually all over the field. Competition breeds fighting spirit.
That’s the best thing Oakland has going for it right now. It wants to get better. I also think that is a credit to coach Dennis Allen and his staff. This game showed the coaching staff’s message is sinking in.
Now, let’s not get too crazy. The Raiders were far from perfect against Dallas and have a long way to go. But they seem like they are on the right track as a program.
The quarterback position is intriguing in Oakland. All four quarterbacks are a question mark.
Starter Matt Flynn was decent. He wasn’t great or terrible, although losing a fumble early was not good. Flynn will be the Raiders’ starting quarterback to start the season. The question is can he keep the job all season?
And, is anyone ready to take it from him?
Backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor was interesting Friday. He clearly has improved some and that’s a testament to his major work ethic and want-to attitude. But he has his inconsistencies. He forced an interception in the red zone and still seems raw. But he also made some things happen with his feet. Pryor is exciting and there will be a place for him.
Undrafted quarterback Matt McGloin continued to impress. He and fellow rookie Brice Butler connected on a beauty of a touchdown. McGloin received pro-style coaching at Penn State from Bill O‘Brien last year and it’s paying off. McGloin was much better than fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson. Wilson was previously considered an option to start this year. Now, he’s just trying to make the roster. While McGloin is doing well, it would be difficult to think an undrafted rookie could be in the starting mix in his first year.
- Rookie linebacker Sio Moore had a huge sack of Tony Romo. The third-round pick from Connecticut is an exciting player. The Raiders hope he can give them a much-needed pass-rush burst.
- Taiwan Jones, who converted to cornerback from running back this year, had a solid game and worked to solidify his status on the roster.
- There were some issues as the offensive line. The pass rush and pass defense suffered at times.
- Marquette King closed in on veteran punter Chris Kluwe, but Kluwe still remains the favorite to win the job.
- The running back stable looks deep, which is a nice change from last year. Rashad Jennings, Latavius Murray and Jamize Olawale all looked good.
- None of the tight ends separated themselves in the chase to be the starter.
- Undrafted rookie defensive back Chance Casey built on a strong camp with a good game Friday night.