Despite the loss, several Oakland Raiders players had mixed feelings about week #1 of the preseason. Who came away winners, and who were losers?
Winner: Shelby Harris
Having added Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, it was going to be difficult for other defensive ends on the roster to get playing time for the Raiders. That meant having to make a statement in preseason. Rookie Shelby Harris did just that. Not only did he make two tackles, he also notched a sack and forced a fumbled, showing his potential as a playmaker. On a team in need of more pass rushers, Harris did himself some huge favors.
Loser: Matt Schaub
It was only one preseason game but if anybody needed a good start, it was Matt Schaub. Fans are finding hard to forget how poorly he played in 2013, which resulted in the Houston Texans trading him to Oakland. His brief showing against the Minnesota Vikings did little to change minds, finishing just 3-of-7 for 21 yards. Too many times he looked flustered in the pocket and inaccurate with his passes. That better change if he wants to keep his job.
Winner: Denarius Moore
The Raiders still have lots of things to sort out on their roster. One is the logjam they have going at wide receiver. Following the addition of James Jones the team has a number of targets with quality potential but only so many roster spots. Among those on the bubble is Denarius Moore. Once viewed as a future star, his injury troubles and inconsistency have eaten away at the good graces he had with the fans and coaches. A poor preseason could seal his fate. Luckily, he was among the most productive targets in the game, catching three passes for 28 yards. So far so good, but he’s not safe yet.
Loser: Miles Burris
Among the biggest surprises of training camp was the resurgence of linebacker Miles Burris. A former starter who was written off following an injury, he worked his way back into contention for the weakside linebacker job when second-year man Sio Moore struggled to transition to that position after spending his rookie year on the strong side. Unfortunately, Burris missed his first major opportunity to secure his hold on it. Not only did he fail to make a tackle in the preseason opener, but Moore recorded two and also had a sack. That is not a good omen.