Running Back Jalen Richard
The Silver and Black were back on the road tonight, falling to the Dallas Cowboys 24-20 at AT&T Stadium.
In the wake of tonight's loss, here are four things that stood out from the game.
1. Donald Penn got back to work
After missing the entirety of Training Camp 2017, Donald Penn returned to the team's Alameda, Calif., facility this Wednesday, and was reinstated to the team's active roster shortly after his arrival.
He practiced both Wednesday and Thursday, and then made his preseason debut tonight, playing in two offensive series before his quick evening came to an end.
While Marshall Newhouse got the start at left tackle, Penn returned to Derek Carr's blindside on the second series of the game, with Newhouse flipping over to the right side as expected.
Now in his 11th NFL season, Penn doesn't need to see too many live reps to get right before the start of the regular season, but nevertheless, I'm sure Head Coach Jack Del Rio and Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice are pleased that big No. 72 got some time to reacclimate with his teammates in a game situation.
2. Obi Melifonwu made his debut
After being a spectator for the first two games of the preseason, the rookie safety finally got to strap on the pads and hit somebody.
Melifonwu got some early run, and played into the fourth quarter, making his preseason debut on the Raiders first defensive series of the evening, playing a limited amount of time in his first NFL appearance.
Since the Silver and Black selected him in the second round of this year's draft, we've heard time and time again about the freakish athleticism that he possesses, and while nothing he did really flashed and made you say "wow," it was certainly good to see No. 20 out there running around tonight with his defensive teammates.
One more thing, I have to say, if nothing else, Melifonwu certainly looks the part of an athletic, hybrid safety.
3. We got our first look at Cordarrelle Patterson the kick returner
Is Cordarrelle Patterson more than just a kick returner? Absolutely.
No. 84 played a good amount of receiver in the first two weeks of the preseason – just as he did tonight – but in an attempt to see what other talent was on the roster, he didn't return any kicks.
That changed tonight, as Patterson returned a pair of kicks, averaging 24 yards a pop.
Signed in March, the speedy wide out will presumably handle a good amount of the Raiders return duties in 2017, as well as look to add a spark to the team's special teams units.
Overall, Patterson enjoyed a strong evening in the Lone Star Start, finishing his abbreviated evening with four catches for 30 yards and one touchdown, as well as the aforementioned returns.
4. The three-headed monster of Raiders running backs enjoyed a dynamic outing in Dallas
Man, I'll tell you what, if everything goes to plan, and the Raiders trio of running backs all performs like they're capable of, I don't know if you'll find a more dynamic group of backs in the NFL.
With the brute force of Marshawn Lynch, combined with the speedy, shifty attack of Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington, Running Backs Coach Bernie Parmalee's group really does have a little something for everyone.
At day's end, the trio carried the ball eight times for 34 yards, and Richard also hauled in one pass for 13 yards too.
Even fullback Jamize Olawale got in the mix, busting off a 40-plus-yard run that was ultimately negated by a facemask penalty.
Much has been made – and rightfully so – about the weapons that Carr has to work with on the outside, but if the running game is humming, boy, this Raiders offense is going to be fun to watch.