Oakland Raiders: The good, bad, and ugly in preseason win over the Lions

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /
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Oakland Raiders
FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 24: A detail of a penalty flag during the game between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) /

Bad: Penalties

Penalties seem to be a yearly challenge for the Raiders. They never seem to fail to be among the league leaders in collecting yellow flags annually.

Last season, for the first time in what seems like ages, the Raiders didn’t actually lead the league in penalties. With 114, they were ninth in the league – hey, at least they were among the league leaders in something, right?

Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders /

Las Vegas Raiders

But, the 1,009 free yards they surrendered to opposing teams ranked seventh overall – and was obviously way too many yards to give up for free like that.

This is a team that needs to play with more discipline. They need to stop shooting themselves in the foot and putting themselves in bad spots by taking ill-timed penalties, momentum-killing penalties. It’s something coaches have harped on for time out of mind – yet something, they’ve never been able to fix, as the Raiders often collect yellow flags like they’re going out of style.

Gruden has spoken often about playing with more discipline and not taking stupid penalties.

Well, things didn’t go so well on that front straight out of the gate. For the game, the Raiders were flagged nine times, for a total of 75 yards. Two of those penalties were for the NFL’s new helmet rule, at 15 yards a pop.

Though some will argue, the helmet contact penalty Karl Joseph got, actually was a textbook example of what the refs will be calling a penalty for this season. He lowered his helmet to strike. In old days, that would have been a textbook tackle. Today, it’s 15 yards.

The Raiders need to do a better job of minimizing those types of penalties, but even more, they need to do a job of eliminating the stupid, mental penalties they tend to take.

The unforced mental errors like false start and holding, need to be stripped out completely, or the Raiders run the risk of digging a hole too deep for them to climb out of.