It’s only one preseason game so there is no reason to bust out the jump to conclusions mat just yet. However, seeing the Oakland Raiders hold the Dallas Cowboys to just 66 yards rushing in a 17-9 win is truly a revelation.
Certainly things will only become more difficult from here out. But this was a great starting point.
Know this: Trevor Scott, Matt Shaughnessy and Lamarr Houston will terrorize NFL quarterbacks when the Oakland secondary blankets the opponent the way they did them Cowboys on Thursday night. Houston looks to have a secure lock on the starting gig at defensive end after his two sack debut while Scott and Shaughnessy both look like they have double digit sack potential in 2010.
The star of the show was the defense on Thursday but the offense did show improvement as well.
Jason Campbell was efficient but never got into a rhythm. Hue Jackson did dial up a couple deep throws to try and keep the defense honest. While JC never connected on either one, he did show a nice touch nearly linking up with Louis Murphy on a sideline route.
If there is cause for concern it is still along the offensive line. Samson Satele was abused by Junior Siavii in a one-on-one situation leading to Campbell enduring his first sack in Silver and Black. In addition, the running game was mostly ineffective with the first team on the field.
Late in the fourth quarter Kyle Boller led an impressive 13 play, 80 yard scoring drive capped off with a perfectly thrown ball to Nick Miller in the corner of the end zone. Miller – as he always does when given a chance to play– made a nice grab showing great concentration as he hauled in the 4-yard toss.
The job of third string running back is looking like the best camp battle. Both Michael Bennett and Rock Cartwright made strong cases for themselves. Bennett rolled up 101 yards of total offense while Cartwright showed some nice open field moves en route to an impressive total of 53 total yards on 9 touches.
But this game was all about the D and just to drive the point home Jerome Boyd sealed the deal with a 48-yard house call that sent the Cowboys back to practice as losers for the first time in 2010.
Of course things began the same way last year as well what with the Raiders dismantling the Cowboys to begin the preseason. Somehow things feel much different this time around though.