The Oakland Raiders fell to 1-2 in the preseason, following a 27-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
There were winners and losers in terms of individual performance, but beyond that, there is still plenty of information to digest.
Here are some miscellaneous notes and observations from week three of the preseason:
- Dan Williams is back with the first-team. Maybe it was just because of Mario’s injury, but it’s good to see big Dan back with the starters. He was arguably the second-best player on the defense last year, and a repeat performance would be big for this defense playing up to its potential.
- Khalil Mack, Dan, Justin Ellis, Jihad Ward and Bruce Irvin was the starting 5-2 look the team used. This is likely what we’ll see Week 1, if Edwards Jr. can’t go.
- Ben Heeney crushed Marcus Mariota, which was great to see from Heeney. This is the type of physicality the Raiders need him to bring if he has any shot of being the middle linebacker of the future.
- One of the roster spots up for grabs is the fourth safety spot. Keith McGill once again was first in-line for reps, so he seems to be the favorite. He also beat out Dewey McDonald and Trawick in snaps — 19 to 13 to 8.
- Jalen Richard’s much-hyped debut went quite well. For a UDFA, expectations had reached an unreasonable level, but he delivered nonetheless. Impressive burst, decisiveness, vision, fighting for extra yards, and even contributing as a kick returner. The team is obviously very high on him, and he has a good shot to make the roster.
- DeAndre Washington is legit. He’s had a great preseason, and he really looks the part. He busted out a big 31-yard gain, and also caught a touchdown pass. It’s great to see him getting reps as a kick returner, which shows how eager the team is to get him involved.
- George Atkinson III also had a nice game, and the third running back spot is going to be a tough call. Practice squad eligibility might be the determining factor.
- Matt McGloin played much of the second half, all the way up until about four minutes left in the game. He’s the backup.
- Still way too many missed tackles and penalties. For the third game in the row, the Raiders committed double-digit penalties and had a hard time with tackling.
- The scheme was bland, per usual for the preseason, but Oakland plays Tennessee again in Week 3. Tennessee showed a lot of different looks, giving the Raiders plenty of film to review for the rematch.
- Carr’s timing with Cooper and Crabtree wasn’t quite there the first two games, but they got on the same page in this one. A long touchdown throw to Coop and a pretty pass to Crab right on the money were the highlights of this game.
- Sean Smith had a rough game, gambling on a throw that I still have no idea how he didn’t pick off. He was beat two other times and also missed a tackle. It was the first time he’s played bad during the preseason, so it’s nothing to worry about.
- The Raiders used Johnny Holton heavily — tied for second on the team in offensive snaps — and they also are finding creative ways to use him. A reverse was called for him, which was great to see, and he caught three passes for 54 yards. His crazy one-handed grab might be the top play of the preseason. Welcome to the team.
- The entire defensive line, sans Mack, lost the battle in the trenches and were pushed around all game long. Denico Autry in particular had a rough game. He was manhandled, not following assignments and really just didn’t look like the same player we saw last season.
- For a team that has hailed for depth on the defensive line, it’s a bit worrisome to see the how they performed not only in this game, but all preseason. Branden Jackson and Darius Latham have outplayed Orr and Autry.
- K.J. Brent will be the wide receiver on the practice squad, beating out Jaydon Mickens. Second week in a row he has seen more usage, and he hauled in three catches for 54 yards.
- Deandre Washington was officially welcomed to the NFL.
- Taiwan Jones might be getting phased out. He saw no offensive snaps and no kick returns. Maybe it’s because the team already knows what he brings to the table, but other players are fulfilling Taiwan’s responsibilities admirably.
- Antonio Hamilton was once again given an opportunity to return a punt. There aren’t any UDFA cornerbacks to consider for the active roster, but he seems like a safe bet for the practice squad.
- What’s up with James Cowser? Zero defensive snaps is disappointing to see. He had a rough game against Green Bay, but is Del Rio unforgiving enough to completely remove him from the game? There are a number of reasons why this could have happened, but it’s not health, because he did see six snaps on special teams.
- Menelik Watson and Austin Howard are neck and neck for the starting right tackle position. Howard saw eight more snaps and Watson committed a penalty, so perhaps the advantage has swung in Howard’s favor.