For the first time this preseason, Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden trotted the starting unit on to the field to get a few reps under their belt, and on both sides of the ball the Silver and Black were dominant.
To start the game, the Raiders decided to receive, which meant Derek Carr and Co., would get the first crack at the Cardinals. Last week we were fortunate enough to see first-round picks Clelin Ferrell and Johnathan Abram get some run, but we didn’t see any of Josh Jacobs; however, Gruden let his potential-three-down back show why the team took him No. 24 overall. On the first three plays of the game, Jacobs ran the ball back-to-back-to-back times, and showed off his strength, ability to make decisive cuts, and pick up consistent gains.
Jacobs went on to finish the night with four carries for 21 yards, and while his effort was impressive, it was the way Carr conducted the offense that was the tale of the tape. The Raiders signal-caller went two-for-two with a 27-yard pass to Tyrell Williams, and topped it off with a 13-yard toss to Ryan Grant for the first points of the game. The team was able to drive down the field and score in just over three minutes, which had to please Coach Gruden. According to Gruden, Carr identified several mismatches that he called audibles for, and was poised in the pocket.
“I thought Derek looked sharp, made a couple great audibles," Gruden told reporters postgame. "Glennon played a very, very good game. We changed speeds in the second half, ran some different plays with Peterman, and I thought he did an excellent job, moving the clock, and helping us get out of here [with a win].”
Overall, the quarterbacks had a top-notch collective performance. The trio combined for 21-of-24 from the pocket, 256 yards, and three touchdowns. Carr and Glennon both finished with a perfect passer rating of 158.3, and Peterman finished the night a perfect 8-of-8. These are the kinds of contributions that put a smile on a Head Coach’s face. On the latest episode of “Hard Knocks,” Coach Gruden emphasized better execution, and I’m not sure you can get a better product than what Carr, Glennon, and Peterman produced Thursday night.
In addition to the strong performances on offense, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s unit brought the heat to State Farm Stadium, making sure 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray felt uncomfortable in the pocket. Three consecutive times, Guenther sent the house in the second quarter, with the Cardinals backed up deep in their own territory, and it resulted in a safety courtesy of Lamarcus Joyner.
We saw a lot of potential from the starters on defense, limiting the Cardinals to just 22 yards of offense after three drives. We’ve known that linebacker Vontaze Burfict would serve an impactful role in the middle of Guenther’s defense, considering he spent so much time in it in Cincinnati, and he orchestrated it to perfection against the Cardinals.
“We’re going to blitz, Guenther’s going to blitz. Sometimes he shows blitz and doesn’t blitz, but when you’re playing spread teams, and they’re spreading you out and running the quarterback you have to take some gaps away," Gruden explained. "You have to try and present some different looks otherwise they’ll dice you. I think we did a good job mixing it up and we did have some timely blitzes.”
The Silver and Black went on to defeat the Cardinals on the road 33-26, and they’ll return to Napa, Calif., for their final three days of training camp before hitting the road again to face the Green Bay Packers in Canada.