With one game to go in the preseason, you can take the negative road, and say all the things that have been said for the last 11 years. Or you can change the tune, and pick out the good things and build on it.
The Oakland Raiders lost to the Chicago Bears. No doubt about it. Looking at the scoreboard after the game it said “Bears 34, Raiders 26.”
Yes, it’s just preseason, but you want to win no matter what…checkers, old maid, pick up sticks…everyone wants to win.
Last week, it was a week of discovery; we discovered that the Raiders need a pass rush and a secondary that will cover. Together, it could form a cohesive defense that could give problems to many teams.
Guess what we discovered after Friday night’s game? The Raiders still don’t have a cohesive group.
The secondary gave up way too many completions in voided areas of the field. Besides Joselio Hansen’s interception, the play of the secondary was uninspiring.
To make things even cloudier, Mike Jenkins threw himself into the fire again, playing well below his anticipated ability. D.J. Hayden got a free pass and a pat on the back for his deflected pass off of a Jay Cuttler throw.
Here’s a heads up to the front seven of the Raiders defense: the Bears had 167 yards on the ground. They don’t need to throw if they get those kinds of numbers. That really is impressive for the Bears to gain that much yardage: Matt Forte with 76 yards, Michael Bush has 19 yards and two touchdowns. Then, rookie Michael Ford added 58 yards and a touchdown. Did I miss anyone?
Head coach Dennis Allen said, “I don’t think the speed was good, I didn’t think the tackling was good enough, and we made too many mistakes and errors.”
REALLY? You could see all that from the nose bleed seats. Come on man!
Where is Pat Sims? He has missed three preseason games, and it could be the entire preseason. The Raiders replaced the large mounds of mass and non-destruction for faster, quicker, and more agile players. We have yet to see that aspect of Reggie’s Raiders.
Stepping up on the defensive side of the ball was Sio Moore, who is looking to be a difference maker. He provides consistency on the defensive side of theball, makes big plays, and puts pressure on the offense.
Jack Crawford was also playing more while working at two positions, defensive end and defensive tackle.
A game ball should go to Sebastian Janikowski with his 58-yard field goal off the dirt. That’s old school!
Matt Flynn vs. Terrelle Pryor: who gets the game one start? Matt Flynn has the starting position and it is his to lose. Many people have forgotten that a running QB has never won the Super Bowl.
Who knows why Flynn is playing so poorly right now? He hasn’t played to his performance level yet, ;ooking shaky, and Palmer-ish in his first three starts.
I mean that in the negative way: interceptions, bad decisions, and the internal three- second clock is not working. The offensive line continues to be porous, allowing defenses to sack Flynn, much like they did with Palmer.
On the other hand, Pryor has nothing to lose. He can go out, play against the second-team defense, and look spectacular. He has shown improvement in his decision making. He did throw a laser strike against the Bears (May have been his best pass ever), and is using his feet in a more positive manner. He is reacting to situations, and making the best of it.
Between the two, Flynn is the better leader. He recognizes down and distance situations. He has a grasp of the playbook and what the Raiders are trying to do.
Pryor has always been the better athlete. He throws a better long ball and runs better than Flynn (Anyone in the stadium runs better than Flynn). However, Pryor is not consistent; he could not beat out Palmer and so far he has not beat out Flynn. Down the road, Pryor will get his chance.
The Raiders take on the Seahawks in the final preseason prep. A lot of questions still need to be answered.