Dennis Allen has certainly brought more discipline to the Oakland Raiders as promised. However what’s lacking is the trademark Commitment to Excellence. That is very clear after two disappointing preseason losses with last night’s 31-27 effort against Arizona showcasing many of the problems that must be addressed.
At the top of the list of concerns is Carson Palmer. Palmer remains plagued by moments of madness that almost always result in costly turnovers. We saw that in his brief appearance against Dallas and for good measure we got the same showing during an extended outing against the Cardinals.
On one play Palmer will put a pass on a dime. On the next he’ll force a throw downfield that only the defense can make a play on. Making matters worse is that when the Palmer did lead drives deep into Cardinals territory he and his offense had trouble putting the ball in the end zone. Palmer tossed a crazy TD to Rod Streater that showed by the good and bad of Carson.
On a throw only a pro could make, Palmer was off balance, on one leg and falling down when he somehow threaded the needle to the ever impressive Streater. That was the good of Carson. The bad came when he again tried to force a deep ball that overshot his target by a few yards landing safely in the hands of defender.
About the only bright spot for the first team offense remains to be Darren McFadden.
Run DMC is poised for an MVP caliber season so long as he avoids the injury bug that his bit every year of his career.
On the subject of injuries, the Raiders racked up a few of those last night.
Matt Leinart’s NFL homecoming began with boos and ended with a boo-boo. The former Cardinal has looked sharp in the preseason which is why it was too bad that his night was cut short by a hand injury. Early reports indicate that Leinart should be good to go if not by next week then by the start of the regular season for sure. That’s somewhat of a relief.
What Raider Nation is currently holding its breath over is the status of Jacoby Ford who is getting an MRI for a foot injury. Ford spent most of his night in Arizona on crutches. Couple that with Denarius Moore’s hamstring issue and you’ve got yourself ample reason to be hopeful that the aforementioned Streater and Juron Criner will be ready for expanded roles early in their NFL careers.
But it wasn’t all bad. The first team defense looks very much improved though there were some warning signs of past mistakes again rearing their ugly mug.
The Raiders terrorized Kevin Kolb forcing a safety in the first quarter as one of three sacks the silver and black defense racked up. Tommy Kelly went one step further by calling out Kolb’s toughness to which the disappointing QB took great offense to. Chalk that up to Kelly still holding onto Hue Jackson’s bully building effort made a year ago.
Before we get too worried it is important to keep in mind that this is till the preseason and the Raiders are still adjusting to an entirely new way of life in football terms. Still, the turnovers are of great concern so too are bad habits. Palmer’s interception problem is not improving and Mike Goodson is doing nothing to disprove his label as fumble-prone. Twice Goodson coughed up the rock in his Raiders debut before he too went off with an injury.
Injuries and turnovers dominated a night that had a tragic ending for one fan that was shot in the parking lot after the game had concluded. Reports indicate that the man who was shot is expected to survive. That is a bit of good news in lieu of the ugly incident.
For Allen it’s back to the drawing board as he knows there is plenty of work to be done. So far we’ve got far more questions than answers about a team that is rebuilding itself on the fly.