Game Notebook: Oakland Raiders 18 St. Louis Rams 3

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August 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio (left) shakes hands with St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher (right) after a preseason NFL football game at Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Rams 18-3. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Final Thoughts

Some quick thoughts on Preseason Week 1:

– Taiwan Jones should get a role in the offense. During the second unit time the Raiders brought out Taiwan Jones to take a few snaps at running back as expected, and the special teams specialist who has jumped from running back to cornerback to now back to rushing in his short career looked very impressive in Bill Musgrave’s new scheme. Taking three carries for 15 yards, Jones looked very explosive in open space and as a lock to make the team as a gunner on special teams you would have to expect that Musgrave makes use of Jones a few times a game this season on the offense in order to get the most out of the roster.

– Brice Butler is continuing to flash his upside. Fans of the Raiders love Brice Butler and always want to see him get an increased role in the offense, which is easy to see why as the receiver once again looked like a talented receiver during the preseason debut. Butler was the leading receiver with six catches for 57 yards and one of the two touchdowns, putting himself in good standing to earn his spot on the 53 man roster with a new coaching staff in place in Oakland.

– The receiver competition is fierce. It is going to be difficult for the Raiders staff to make decisions on the bottom half of the receiver depth chart as there are plenty of names who are doing good things so far in camp as well as now in the preseason. Kenbrell Thompkins, Kris Dunham, Seth Roberts, Andre Holmes, and Butler all could very well make the roster or be cut as the Raiders have five wideouts who are all very talented behind the expected top three on the depth chart behind Cooper-Crabtree-Streater. That means someone good will be cut as a negative, but it also means that this Raiders team has its best depth in years at the position.

– Gabe Holmes is a UDFA to watch. A former basketball player who is 6’5″, 260 pounds and runs a 40 yard dash in around 4.7 seconds, Gabe Holmes is a UDFA tight end who should definitely be on the radar as a practice squad player who could one day make the 53 man roster. With two catches on Friday, Holmes showed why the Raiders were interested in the project player out of Purdue. Holmes will have a tough time to make the roster behind Clive Walford, Lee Smith (a blocking specialist) and Mychal Rivera (who did not receive a target on Friday), but his athleticism and size won’t be ignored by Bill Musgrave as Holmes might just have a future in Oakland.

– It is still early. I am excited as much as the next person over the Raiders impressive performance, but to end the first Game Notebook of 2015 I have to state the obvious in that it is still far too early to gauge much more than early depth chart projections from a Preseason Week 1 game. Friday night was promising and fun as the Coliseum was alive for a debut for a new look team that gives hope, but with three more preseason tuneups before the games that matter start, that optimism should remain cautious even as it looks the Raiders might just be on the right track under this new coaching staff.