Running Back Marshawn Lynch
The Oakland Raiders opened their home slate of preseason games Saturday night, falling to the Los Angeles Rams 24-21.
With the loss, Head Coach Jack Del Rio's group fall to 0-2 in the preseason.
In the wake of the RESULT, here are four quick notes that stood out from the second week of the preseason.
1. Welcome home, Marshawn
After not playing in last week's matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, the man affectionately known as "Beast Mode" appropriately made his Raiders debut at home tonight in front of Raider Nation.
The Oakland-native played just one series, but it certainly was a memorable one.
Not only did Lynch get a raucous ovation before he even carried the ball, he got an even louder one when he took the first play from scrimmage six yards through the heart of the Rams defensive line.
In total, No. 24 carried the ball twice for 10 yards, but I have to say, there was certainly a tangible air of excitement in the stadium while he was on the field.
I know it was just one series, in one preseason game, but Lynch certainly looked like Marshawn Lynch of old, when he was one of the premier running backs in the NFL.
2. Carr and the offense looked ready to rock
In addition to Marshawn Lynch, we also got our first look tonight at Derek Carr and a few of the other marquee Raiders on the offensive side of the football who didn't play last week against the Cardinals.
Now, it certainly wasn't a perfect outing – Carr did throw a first quarter interception – but the Silver and Black's offense showed glimpses of being the dominant group that Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing hopes they can be in 2017.
On the first series of the evening, Carr quickly orchestrated a four-play, 65-yard drive that was capped off by a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end , in his first live action since Week 16 of last year.
That first series really was a sight to behold, as No. 4 reminded all in attendance why he was an MVP candidate until the final weeks of the 2016 regular season. He looked poised, in control, and truthfully, the group looked like it was in mid-season form, not the second week of the preseason.
Carr exited the game just before the half, finishing his night seven of nine for 100 yards, two touchdowns, and the aforementioned interception, before ceding the quarterbacking duties to EJ Manuel.
Now, there's certainly a lot that needs to be better going forward, but I think overall, Head Coach Jack Del Rio will be pleased with what he saw from his first-team guys tonight at the OACC.
3. Khalil Mack reminded us all why he's the reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year.
Where to start with No. 52.
Well, in his preseason debut, the all-world defensive end not only recorded his first sack of the preseason, enveloping Rams quarterback Jared Goff like a slice of cold pizza during a midnight fridge run, but he was a constant presence around the football during his abbreviated evening.
Mack played into the second quarter Saturday night, finishing his preseason debut with four tackles, one sack, three quarterback hits, and two tackles for loss, and truth be told, there was really no reason to play him any longer than that.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year showed us all why he was regarded as the best player on that side of the ball in 2016.
Plain and simple, Mack is a difference maker – a dominant one at that – and I have a feeling that 2017 is going to be another banner campaign for him.
4. The coverage units showed a little something
With the departure of Daren Bates, Andre Holmes, Rod Streater, and Brynden Trawick just to name a few, there are no doubt special teams jobs to be won on the 2017 Oakland Raiders roster.
Often the underappreciated phase of the game, Special Teams Coordinator Brad Seely's group put together a strong performance tonight against the Rams.
King punted five times, and while he did pin one inside the 10 yard line, what was equally as impressive was the play of the coverage units following his kicks.
All evening, the Rams returners had nowhere to go, and because of that, the Raiders set their defense up in advantageous positions throughout the evening.
Even though it's the preseason, don't sleep on the battle for field position. While it might not be the flashiest area of the game, there are no doubt a handful of Raiders who will make the final roster based off their performances on special teams, and tonight, a few of them in particular really shined.