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: Kicker Sebastian Janikowski /

With all the pomp and circumstance surrounding their most high-profile offseason in nearly two decades, the loss of key special teams aces such as Andre Holmes, Taiwan Jones, Brynden Trawick, and Daren Bates quietly flew under the radar.

The importance of special teams are typically underestimated. But, do not fall under any delusions that these four players need not be replaced, and replaced well. Solid special teams play is essential if the Raiders are going to make a postseason run.

On Saturday night, two receivers fighting for a roster spot , highlighted their skills in the return game.

Johnny Holton, a second year man out of Cincinnati had a pretty kick return of 35 yards. Taking the ball from the back of the endzone, Holton shook four Cardinals in an exciting display of lateral agility, speed, and field vision.

Jaydon Mickens, a practice squad player last year, displayed his superior movement in space with a nifty punt return for 16 yards. The short, quick-twitch receiver found running room in tight quarters, making a man miss along the way.

Mickens did have a fumble on a kick return which will certainly not help his case in making the squad. But that stain on his record can be overcome if he continues to show his elusiveness and quick feet on a consistent basis and in a productive manner.

This does not mention both players’ contributions in the offense. Both Mickens and Holton garnered 24 and 19 yards respectively on end-arounds.