The Oakland Raiders lost their second preseason game to the Cardinals. The Raiders scored their first points of the preseason during this game. The first-team offense and defense, with the exception of Darren McFadden, played the whole first half of the game. This gave us the first somewhat extensive look at the Oakland Raiders since early January. In this game, Dennis Allen and Co. had a pretty decent idea of who was on the bubble. For a lot of players on the third and second-team offensive and defensive units, this game was key to make an impression on coaches before the 3rd preseason game, seeing starters will play the majority of the game against Detroit. Here’s a look at the players who came-out on top, and those who who were on the bottom in my weekly “Winners/Losers” feature.
During the offseason, Lamarr Houston dropped 20-pounds off his frame. Now at a leaner 285 lbs. Lamarr Houston looks to be a disruptive force at defensive end. When Lamarr Houston was on the field, he disrupted the Arizona Cardinals’ offense. Whether the Cardinals tried to run or pass, Lamarr Houston made things extremely difficult for them. He had a sack and a tackle for a loss. Lamarr Houston was completely unblockable. The Cardinals’ offensive line could not keep him off Kevin Kolb or John Skelton. If Lamarr houston continues to improve his pass rushing skills to alonf with his prowess in run defense, he will be a huge weapon for Jason Tarver.
Rod Streater did a great job following up his preseason debut in Arizona. 7 receptions for 43 yards may sound unimpressive, but he had a couple tough grabs and drew a defensive pass interference call that set up the Raiders on the Cardinals’ 1-yard line. Rod Streater also had a key hustle-play where he tackled Justin Bethel of the Cardinals on an interception return, preventing a touchdown. Also, once the play-calling opens up a bit, he should amass a higher yards per catch (YPC) average. With Jacoby Ford’s ankle injury, Rod Streater has set himself up to get serious playing time. This guy looks legit.
Carl Ihenacho has quietly put together a very successful training camp up to this point. In the first preseason game against Dallas, Carl Ihenacho didn’t tally a single sack, but he got some quality pressures. In the most recent contest against Arizona, Carl Ihenacho got a strip-sack that was recovered by, Hall Davis and returned for a touchdown. Barring a string of horrible performances in the next two games, along with an emergence of Wayne Dorsey, Mason Brodine, or Kaelin Burnett, I believe Carl Ihenacho has secured a roster spot on opening day.
Juron Criner only had one catch against the Cardinals, but it was an impressive 25-yard catch in a one-on-one situation. After a rough start to the preseason, Juron Criner is finally back on track. He showed physicality and used his size well. After rewatching the game, he was able to get open, as well as putting himself in a jump-ball, one-on-one situation against a smaller defensive back. If the second-team offensive line was better in pass protection, Juron Criner could’ve had 3 or 4 catches, easily. He hasn’t lived up to the minicamp hype yet, but there is no serious cause for concern. Juron Criner is just another another talented receiver that the Raiders can incorporate into the offense.
In terms of pure coverage, Chimdi Chekwa has a up-and-down game in Arizona. But he did the one thing that can overshadow inconsistency; making a play. He was able to tally an interception in the third quarter off a poorly town ball by Cardinals QB, Ryan Lindley. In Pat Lee’s absence, this really helped Mr. Chekwa’s stock. He really bounced back from the first preseason game.
Coming off a scary neck injury, many of the Raiders’ faithful were excited to see Mike Goodson in action. Especially since all talk out of training camp was that Mike Goodson looked really solid. To be frank, Mike Goodson laid a huge egg last Thursday. Mike Goodson fumbled the ball twice, both were recovered by the Cardinals. When he wasn’t fumbling the ball, Mr. Goodson didn’t look very explosive. He was only able to tally 5 yards on 6 carries. I’m not trying to scold Mike Goodson too much, we all have to remember he just came back from a neck injury. But nonetheless, Taiwan Jones is returning in the upcoming game against the Lions. It’s critical for Mike Goodson to have a bounce-back game. With Taiwan Jones gunning for him, a bad performance on Goodson’s part cound relegate him to the No. 3 running back.
Demarcus Van Dyke
Demarcus Van Dyke has struggled with the same issues since his days at the University of Miami. Demarcus Van Dyke sticks to receivers like glue, opposing receivers rarely get separation when lined-up against him. Demarcus Van Dyke struggles with being aware of the situation, he rarely turns around to locate the ball. This commonly leads to two things, pass interference penalties, and big catches by receivers deep downfalls. While Demarcus Van Dyke did not have any pass interference penalties called on him, he allowed a 31-yard pass to Cardinals receiver, DeMarco Sampson. The pass could of been deflected, but Demarcus Van Dyke neglected to turn around to track the ball. Yes, I know that rhymes.
Joe Barksdale has probably had the roughest preseason out of any player on the Raiders’ roster. Before training camp started, Barksdale was expected to compete with Khalif Barnes for the starting right tackle position. Three-weeksinto training camp– Joe Barksdale may be in danger of being released. Barksdale just had an absolutely horrendous game against the Cardinals. He allowed a huge hit on Matt Leinart that caused a laceration on Matt Leinart’s finger. Joe Barksdale needs to end up on the other end of this list next Thursday if he wants to improve his standing with the coaching staff.