Friday, August 12, 2011
Reviewing the Raiders' opener
By Bill Williamson
Let’s review some key aspects from the Oakland Raiders’ 24-18 loss to visiting Arizona as they joined San Diego and Denver as last-moment AFC West losers on the opening night of the NFL preseason. Arizona scored a 28-yard pass with 39 seconds remaining.
- There’s no doubt the Raiders wanted to see rookie Denarius Moore in game action. The fifth-round pick has been a star of training camp and Oakland unleashed the receiver from Tennessee. He played in the first half and he returned both a kickoff and a punt. Moore was targeted six times as a receiver and had a team-high three catches for 41 yards. It’s clear Oakland is not worried about slowly bringing this kid along. I bet we see a lot more of him early in the next couple of preseason games.
- Fellow rookie, tight end David Ausberry, had one catch, but he made it count. The seventh-round pick who has converted from receiver to tight end had an 18-yard touchdown catch from Trent Edwards as they played with the third string. Ausberry, like Moore, has been impressive in the camp.
- The Raiders’ backup quarterbacks, Kyle Boller and Edwards, both got long looks and they both looked good. Edwards, who led the Raiders on a few second-half scoring drives, completed 9 of 18 passes for 124 yards. Kyle Boller, who was the No. 2 quarterback, was 8-of-9 for 56 yards. This will be an interesting race for the No. 2 job. Oakland starter Jason Campbell was efficient as he completed 6 of 10 passes for 65 yards.
- Oakland’s pass defense was picked on some in the first half. Arizona starting quarterback Kevin Kolb and backup John Skelton combined to complete 10 of 17 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown. The Raiders are adjusting to life without star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who is now an Eagle. The Raiders' second-half secondary was not overly strong, either. Four Arizona quarterbacks combined to toss for 300 yards and three touchdowns. The secondary will be a point of emphasis for Oakland all preseason.
- It’s all about Seabass. Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski was in midseason form as he converted all four of his field-goal attempts, including a 57-yard whopper in the fourth quarter to give the Raiders the lead. Janikowski converted 33 field goals last year. I’m sure Oakland coach Hue Jackson would like to see the Raiders reach the end zone more. Two of Janikowski’s field goals were very short.
- The Oakland offensive line had its ups and downs. The Raiders averaged just 3.3 yards rushing, but Arizona had just two sacks.