With the preseason out of the way and real regular season football ahead, let’s take a look back at the five preseason takeaways for the Oakland Raiders.
We did it. The 2017 NFL preseason is over and regular season football will begin in a week. The Oakland Raiders may have gone 0-4 in the preseason, but those games don’t count. It has been all about getting ready to take on the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 in Nashville for some time now.
This will be one of the better matchups in Week 1 between two emerging powers in the AFC. There could be a budding rivalry between the Raiders in the Titans because of their young star quarterbacks in Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota. These two teams could be meeting with great regularity for the next decade.
Overall, Oakland did find ways to get better during the preseason. This team is still far from perfect, but does look to be a playoff-caliber team as we approach the regular season. Oakland still has to execute at a high level, but the Raiders can be as good as they want to be this fall.
Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest takeaways from the preseason. Did we learn anything about the Raiders or did we just have some of our thoughts about this team reaffirmed?
Oakland has to keep Derek Carr healthy, backup quarterback situation is not great
Raider Nation knows that Carr is easily the best quarterback the team has had since Rich Gannon. Before he got hurt last year, Carr was having an MVP level season in his third year in the league. When Carr is under center, the Raiders have a shot to hang with and beat anybody.
The problem is that the Raiders’ backup quarterback situation is not a great one. Oakland signed former Buffalo Bills first-round pick EJ Manuel to compete with second-year player Connor Cook for the backup job. Though they battled, the competition wasn’t high and neither really rose to the occasion.
Outside of the Dallas Cowboys game where Manuel barely got on the field, both backups had many opportunities to win the backup job. Manuel outplayed Cook in the final preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, but the Raiders can’t feel overly confident about who they have backing up Carr, who is coming off a season-ending leg injury.
With Manuel, he is way too inaccurate, struggling at times to make rudimentary NFL throws. As for Cook, he can look a little overwhelmed at times in the pocket and will force balls into tight windows. In short, the Raiders will be fine as long as Carr is playing quarterback. However, this team will struggle to compete in games if they have to lean on Cook or Manuel for any extended stretch.