Rejoice, Raider Nation, as we’re officially halfway done with the preseason.
After a win just a few days ago against Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams, the Silver and Black pulled down their second in as many attempts Thursday night, taking down Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals 33-26 at State Farm Stadium.
The first road trip of the year was a great success for Head Coach Jon Gruden’s squad; here are six observations from the Raiders win over the Birds.
1. Derek Carr went to work
Look, the date that’s important for Derek Carr is September 9, but nevertheless, the Oakland Raiders starting quarterback made his preseason debut Thursday night against the Cardinals, and credit where it’s due, because No. 4 looked really impressive.
In his very abbreviated evening – just a single drive – Carr completed both of his pass attempts for a cool 40 yards, and led a picture perfect, six-play, 75-yard drive that he punctuated with a 13-yard pass to Ryan Grant.
After an impressive stand by the Silver and Black’s defense on the ensuing possession, Mike Glennon entered the fray for No. 4, and in all honesty, there was really no reason to keep Carr in there any longer than that.
Good stuff, DC, we’ll see you in a few weeks.
2. Josh Jacobs
After the rest of the Raiders 2019 draft class made their NFL debuts last weekend against the Rams, Josh Jacobs got his invitation to the party, and went to work against the Cardinals.
Like Carr – and the rest of the Raiders offensive starters – the No. 24 overall pick played just a single series at State Farm Stadium, but he made sure to make the most of his carries, taking his four attempts for a total of 21 yards.
Jacobs is a player that we’ve anxiously waited to see in live action, and while his night wasn’t long, the University of Alabama product showed exactly the reason why the Raiders made him the first running back selected in this year’s draft.
Time will tell if we see Jacobs before Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos, but regardless of whether or not he plays over the next two weeks, he showed that the stage won’t be too big for him.
3. No AB quite yet
While we did see Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs make their 2019 debuts, the same could not be said for Mr. Big Chest, Antonio Brown.
While Brown was indeed in the house Thursday night, and actually went through portions of the pre-game warmup, when kickoff came, No. 84 was just a spectator.
Now, Brown’s inactivity against the Cardinals really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, especially considering the man just rejoined the team in Napa a few days ago, but if you’re a fan of the Silver and Black, the fact that he was able to go through warmups should give you reason for optimism.
4. Mike G let it rip
Mike Glennon was surgical Thursday night.
After an up-and-down debut Saturday against the Rams, the veteran quarterback righted the proverbial ship in a hurry against the Cardinals, throwing for 175 yards during his time under center.
Starting his evening on the second drive of the first quarter, and playing through the end of the first half, Glennon was a man in control at State Farm Stadium.
Not only was he able to move the chains on third down, but he showed off the cannon a little bit too, connecting with Rico Gafford on a gorgeous 53-yard touchdown pass.
And perhaps most importantly, after a pair of interceptions against the Rams, Glennon took care of the ball, something I’m sure will greatly please Coach Gruden.
Well done, Mike G, very well done.
5. Stay hot, Paul Guenther
My man, Paul Guenther.
After orchestrating a tremendous 2019 debut on the defensive side of the football, Guenther returned to his bag Thursday night, helping piece together yet another strong outing for his group.
At the end of the first quarter, the Raiders defense had allowed just 22 total yards, and at the half that number had climbed to just 128.
And as far as No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray was concerned, frankly, the athletic quarterback was a complete non-factor, completing just three passes for 12 yards.
The fact is, the Arizona offense – while they did put up 13 points – really didn’t find any type of continuity or fluidity until they were down 26 and the game was essentially already out of reach.
We’re now two weeks into the preseason, and the play of the defense – top to bottom – has been one of the bright spots thus far for the 2019 Raiders.
6. The score
I know, I know, it’s the preseason so the result doesn’t technically matter, but it’s so much better when you win.
The Raiders did just that Thursday night, to the tune of 33-26, and now sitting at 2-0 in the preseason, they’ll return to Napa before flying to Canada Wednesday in advance of their game against the Green Bay Packers.
Head out to Glendale, Ariz. and check out photos from the Raiders' preseason matchup with the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.