The Oakland Raiders' 13-6 victory over the Green Bay Packers wasn't the most action-packed game by any means, but there were a few players and moments that stood out. As the preseason comes to a close, and roster cuts draw near, Head Coach Jon Gruden is looking for consistency, and players who are willing to separate themselves from the competition.
Here are three players, and positions, who stood out during last night's game:
Gruden revealed earlier this week that the starters would play into the second quarter, but that wasn't the case Friday night. Carr and many of the starters played for only one series because Gruden had seen all he needed to see from his franchise quarterback.
"I have seen enough. There isn't much more for me to see," Gruden said postgame. "The battle for us is who is behind Derek [Carr]. I wanted to get Connor [Cook] first team all offensive line for a couple series. But we have a pretty good idea who our starters are on offense. I was really pleased with Derek [Carr] on how he started the game."
On the first play of the opening drive, the Raiders ran a play-action pass out of I-formation, and Carr wasted no time sailing a ball 49 yards down the field to Amari Cooper who high-pointed the ball and managed to add a few yards after the catch. The connection between Carr and Cooper is nothing new, but it was refreshing to see the why the two can be so dangerous.
DC finished the night with 68 yards with a 66 percent completion rate. Another efficient night from the former Fresno State Bulldog.
The young defensive linemen
By game's end, the Raiders totaled five sacks, and have 11 total through three games. Whether it was defensive end Fadol Brown, linebacker Shilique Calhoun, defensive tackles P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst Jr., or defensive end Arden Key, the group applied pressure to Packers quarterbacks Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer all night long.
The trio of rookie defensive linemen have especially played well through the preseason, and on one play in particular, the three, along with Brown, dominated the Packers O-line and destroyed the pocket thus forcing a sack.
Gruden and General Manager Reggie McKenzie have to be pleased with the amount of interior rush they're seeing, given the struggles the team has had at the position in years past. As long as the group can stay healthy, they'll be a nice compliment to the pair of dominant pass rushers coming off the edge.
Derrick Johnson and the rest of the LB corps
Don't let DJ's age (36) deceive you, the man can still clog the hole, and cover receivers in the flat. On a handful of occasions last night, Johnson made his presence felt, roaming the center of the field, and communicating with the rest of the defense.
I think it's fair to say that the addition of the veterans has helped younger guys like Marquel Lee and Nicholas Morrow take a step forward in their development. Morrow had quite the night Friday, registering one sack, two tackles, one for loss, and one quarterback hit. The duo are coming into their own, and Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther — who's been known for his ability to develop young linebackers — is putting his players in a position to succeed.
The Oakland Raiders will conclude their preseason slate of games next Thursday when they travel to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks. We'll see who steps up in the preseason finale.