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
OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 10: Head coach Jon Gruden of the Oakland Raiders looks on from the sidelines against the Detroit Lions in the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on August 10, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Good: Defensive Effort

Defense is something that’s been a real problem for the Raiders for years now. Bad schemes, bad fits, bad effort – you’re really going to have to dig through the archives to find the last Oakland defense that was actually any good.

Now, with a real defensive coordinator in Paul Guenther, who comes to the table with a million different and devastating blitz packages, a solid core defensive philosophy, and a track record of success – and add it to some of the players Oakland has in camp – and you just might be able to see the start of something good.

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  • Just to reiterate, it’s the first preseason game, of course. But, there are some really encouraging signs to be gleaned from the defensive performance Oakland put on.

    For the game, the Raiders surrendered just 227 total yards – a number that would represent the second lowest total they gave up all last year. The first was a 216 yard performance in a late season game against a Denver team with a horrid quarterback situation.

    The defense held the Lions to just 88 total rushing yards – led by rookie Kerryon Johnson‘s 34 yards on seven carries.

    Perhaps more impressive was that Oakland’s patched together with chewing gum and duct tape secondary yielded just 139 passing yards – and zero touchdowns to – the combination of Matt Cassell and Jake Rudock – on a 59 percent completion percentage (22/37).

    This is a unit that racked up four sacks against Detroit – which is a tremendous effort from a defense that had trouble buying sacks last season. It’s also all the more impressive given that they were without a certain looming presence who has yet to make an appearance.

    Yeah, perhaps things would have been different had Matthew Stafford played. But, it has to be an encouraging sign from a defensive backfield that was getting lit up by everybody but Grandma Moses last season.

    No, they weren’t facing the passing offense squad that was ranked sixth-overall last season, but at this point, any progress, any improvement, is good progress and improvement for a secondary that has been burned more thoroughly than California during wildfire season for years now.