Oakland Raiders: Many Silver Linings In Loss To Arizona

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Derek Carr
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Derek Carr /
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Oakland Raiders
GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 12: Linebacker LaTroy Lewis /

James Cowser, a practice squad player last year who was activated for the last five games, replaced Khalil Mack in the starting lineup. Cowser showed he could use his strength and leverage to get behind the line of scrimmage against first-team starters. He was consistently in position to impact plays, especially in the run game.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire night was LaTroy Lewis, a 6’3” 254lb. undrafted rookie out of Tennessee. Lewis generated a strong pass rush around the edge with a limited amount of reps.

Playing only in the second half, he recorded two sacks and forced Cardinals’ quarterback Blaine Gabbert to step up into the pocket on another play.

Lewis is currently a third-team outside linebacker per the team’s unofficial depth chart. But, he might move up a spot if his production continues.

There was solid production along the interior part of the defensive line as well.

Third-round pick Eddie Vanderdoes has enjoyed rave reviews throughout training camp.

While he did not jump out of the screen on Saturday night, it was the small details of his play that should get Raiders fans excited.

One thing to watch with Vanderdoes are his hand placements and initial acceleration at the snap. They are excellent for a rookie and helped him get penetration on quite a few plays. It is safe to say that number 94 will not be pushed around much this upcoming season.

Denico Autry, a starter last year at defensive end, reminded the coaching staff of his place on the depth chart. When not penetrating into the backfield on run plays, he got in the grills of Carson Palmer and Blaine Gabbert, forcing an errant throw for the former and a sack of the latter.

Finally, Treyvon Hester, the Raiders’ 7th round draft pick out of Toledo, accumulated two sacks while Darius Latham, an undrafted free agent last year from Indiana, fought off blocks well and recorded three solo tackles.