Oakland Raiders: Things Worth Keeping An Eye On Against Dallas

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 9: Running back DeMarco Murray
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 9: Running back DeMarco Murray /
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Oakland Raiders
OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 19: Jared Goff /

Opening Drive Defense

Oakland’s defense on the opening drive through the first to exhibition games has been – oh, how can we say this delicately? – atrocious. Horrific. A regular waking nightmare.

In game one, Carson Palmer led an Arizona touchdown drive to start the game that covered 70 yards on 14 plays. You might be tempted to write it off as a case of being the first drive of an exhibition game. Or you might chalk it up to Palmer being a very good quarterback leading a very good offense – an offense that ranked ninth overall and sixth in points scored last season.

Okay, if that’s your position, fair enough.

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But in game two, they took on the Los Angeles Rams – not exactly an offensive juggernaut – and had the same sort of defensive meltdown on the opening drive. They allowed Jared Goff to lead a drive to open the game that covered 85 yards on eight plays.

That would be Jared Goff and the Rams, who were one of the league’s most inept offenses last season, if you’re scoring at home.

Yes, this is the exhibition season. No, it doesn’t count for anything in the grand scheme of things. However, thinking that the habits and patterns being established over these “meaningless” games don’t actually mean a thing is foolhardy. At best.

Oakland would do very well to shut down the success opponents are having on their opening drives. They would do very well to not let the other team set the tone. And they would do even better to not have to play from behind early on.
Those are the patterns and habits this team should be getting into. Not letting the opposing offense walk down the field and score on the opening drive.

It will be worth watching whether or not, this Raiders defense can rise to the challenge and shut Dallas down on their opening possession. A three-and-out would work miracles for this unit and hopefully begin to bolster their confidence – and hopefully that is what starts to bleed over into the regular season.