OAKLAND – Derek Carr didn’t play in last year’s preseason opener. No sense in the Raiders' franchise quarterback risking injury in a game that ranks low even among those that don’t really count.
Carr ran through the tunnel Friday night, started 2018’s first preseason game against the Detroit Lions and got out no worse health wise.
His drive didn’t include a first down and ended in a punt, but the Raiders tried a diverse play selection in their first game action of the year.
He was 2-for-4 for 11 yards, and should thank Jordy Nelson for breaking up a seemingly surefire interception.
Carr took a deep shot to Martavis Bryant that fell incomplete, found Nelson on the game’s opening play and worked with Amari Cooper in the slot.
The series seemed set to end in a score, but Marshawn Lynch’s 60-yard touchdown was called back due to a holding call against first-round rookie left tackle Kolton Miller. The hold was clear, and sprung the big run.
Carr gave way to Connor Cook and most of the starting offense did not return, save Miller and right tackle Ian Silberman. Both guys need the work, considering neither player has taken a regular-season snap at tackle.
The crew exited without an obvious injury, the only positive that matters this time of year.
Most starting defenders played at least two series, but the defensive debut was productive. The Lions were forced to punt after second-round defensive tackle P.J. Hall sacked Matt Cassel on 3rd-and-5, providing an interior rush lacking in recent seasons.
Also, safety Marcus Gilchrist, cornerback Gareon Conley and edge rusher Arden Key were among the first-team regulars who didn’t participate in the preseason opener.
The Raiders have had to make changes all week due to poor air quality in the Bay Area. What effect that has will be determined soon when they play the Cardinals Sunday in Arizona.
Is this the week the Raiders get their second win of the season? How much will the absences of Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant hurt the offense? Can Derek Carr out-play rookie Josh Rosen?
We're about to find out.
Here's how to watch Sunday's Raiders-Cardinals NFL game online.
Start time: Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1:05 p.m. PT
TV channel: CBS
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ALAMEDA – The Raiders downgraded their practice to a walk-through for the second straight day due to poor air quality, again moving off-site to work indoors at a local sports complex.
While anyone in Silver and Black is careful to point out inconveniences brought about by think smoke in the Bay Area are inconsequential to the lives, homes and other property lost in the Camp Fire itself, the Raiders are at a disadvantage while preparing for Sunday’s road game against the Arizona Cardinals.
They haven’t conducted a full-speed practice since Wednesday, and even that was conducted in poor air quality. Conditions have worsened dramatically over the past few days, with unhealthy conditions for even normal, healthy adults.
Had a home game been scheduled for Sunday, the NFL surely would’ve moved it to another location. The Environmental Protection Agency gave air quality an unhealthy score of 159 before the previous game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The EPA’s air quality score in Oakland was 256.
Smoky air drove the Raiders indoors for the second straight day, where they got in reps but none a full speed. They don’t have the space or quality surface to do real football work, but the Raiders are making do.
“We’re practicing in an indoor ice rink that was [converted] to a soccer field,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “We didn’t have much room to get the splits and get the routes run. We’re not going to make any excuses. We’re not the only people dealing with adversity right now.”
That last part is true, but this week’s prep wasn’t complete, and it could impact their ability to earn the season’s second win against a beatable opponent.
“The practices have impacted us, You need to see things at speed to generate timing," Gruden said. "Switching stunts in a walk through in an indoor facility is one thing, in a controlled fashion. Switching them on a practice field at full speed is another. Timing out routes, seeing it at speed. That’s why you see a lot of indoor facilities around the league. It gets bad outside, they go inside. Fortunately for us we were able to find a place to get some work in.”