Observation deck: Raiders-Cardinals

August, 18, 2012
8/18/12
12:15
PM ET
A look at the Raiders’ 31-27 loss at Arizona:

Oakland’s first-team defense continues to look to be ahead of the offense. That may not necessarily be a bad thing. The defensive side of the ball is the unit that needs to improve the most. Oakland has too much talent on offense to stall in the regular season. If the defense can made strides, it will signal overall progress as a team.

Quarterback Carson Palmer was shaky. He overthrew another pass that was intercepted. He did it in the first preseason game and he threw 16 picks last season. He needs to work on it.

Backup running back Mike Goodson had a rough night. He had five yards on six carries and he fumbled twice. The book on Goodson, acquired in a trade from Carolina earlier this year, was he fumbled too much. Goodson’s fumbling issues and the Raiders’ troubles in short-yardage situations in the preseason may make the Raiders re-think their need for more help at the position.

Goodson suffered a shoulder injury on a night the Raiders were banged up a bit.

Third receiver Jacoby Ford sprained his foot and was on crutches. Backup quarterback Matt Leinart has a finger injury on his non-throwing hand and Darrius Heyward-Bey has a sprained shoulder. Oakland coach Dennis Allen said he will know more about the injuries Saturday.

Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly looks great this preseason. He is all over the field and he nailed Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb for a safety. Also, Kelly made news when, after the game, he said Kolb was “scared” and “skittish.” Scouts have been saying that for a while and now Kelly has publicly made the claim.

Oakland was penalized just four times. This team appears to be making major strides in that area. Kudos to all involved. Oakland set an NFL record for penalties and penalty yardage last season. Allen seems to be improving the defense and making the team more disciplined. That has to be an encouraging sign.

The Raiders showed solid pass-rushing skills. They finished with four sacks.

Undrafted rookie Rod Streater had seven catches. He has 13 catches in two games. He’s a keeper.

Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke had another poor showing in the preseason. He was great in camp, bad in games. Fellow second-year cornerback Chimdi Chekwa is playing better and he could be the young cornerback vying for a starting job.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the blocked punt Arizona had for a touchdown. Marquette King is not Shane Lechler. Things will change in the regular season.

Third-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw just three passes. We likely won’t see much of him until the final preseason game Aug. 30. Then he’ll likely be put in mothballs for the regular season, as far as game action goes.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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