The Oakland Raiders have played the third preseason game of the year against the Dallas Cowboys. As always, we won’t be talking about the score, but rather what we saw on the field. And while there’s a lot more to talk about since the starters played much more than in any other preseason game, the focus of everyone was on the Raiders defense. We will get to the offense when we do more analysis next week, but for now let’s just get right to the point and talk defense.
Jelani Jenkins looked really good. He’s got good instincts, is very athletic and if healthy, would be my pick for the starting middle linebacker role.
Treyvon Hester got snaps against the first team offense and continued to impress, logging a big sack for a 12 yard loss. Before now, Hester dominated against backups and third stringers. That earned him some time against first stringers and he really made the most of it. In fact, he might have been the most impressive starting defensive lineman.
The corners weren’t terrible? I mean, I didn’t curse Sean Smith’s name once this game. That’s an improvement, believe me. I’m not sure we can say a whole lot more than the corners weren’t as bad in the first two games but with this defense, I’ll take that as a positive.
Yup, that’s about it. But that’s more positivity than I was able to produce through the first two preseason game so there’s that.
Injuries could be a really big deal. David Amerson, the only corner who hasn’t looked awful this preseason, was laid out and on the ground for a while. He eventually got up and walked off of the field, but then went right to the locker room. If he’s hurt bad at all, it’s a HUGE hit to the Raiders defense.
Jelani Jenkins also limped off of the field, but his injury didn’t appear at first blush to be anywhere near as bad as Amerson’s. That being said, his biggest knock is being injury prone, so something that looks small could still be big.
Shilique Calhoun got a lot of snaps early and did absolutely nothing with them. Lots of people focused on how bad Jihad Ward was last season but Calhoun was just as bad and has continued to be bad this preseason. He really did almost nothing good and without a ton of hope for him to improve, you have to wonder if he might find himself on the bubble when cuts are made.
Covering tight ends is still a huge issue. While the corners didn’t look terrible, that might just be because the Cowboys didn’t need to look further than Jason Witten if they wanted to move the ball.
The run defense was bad, but that’s not super surprising considering how good the Dallas offensive line is. You knew the run game could make the Raiders defense look bad and it did just that.
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