GLENDALE, Ariz. – Raiders backup quarterback Matt McGloin dominated a preseason game, as he always does. Defense and special teams forced some turnovers. Michael Crabtree played like he had superglue on his hands and even George Atkinson III had two big touchdown runs.
Several players flashed in Friday’s 31-10 exhibition victory over the Arizona Cardinals, while others struggled some.
Those things matter far less than the health of defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr., who was helped off the field and carted from sideline to locker room early on with a hip injury.
The second-year pro is a key component of the Raiders defensive front, typically lined up just inside edge rusher Khalil Mack on the weak side. Missing him for any length of time during the regular season would be a blow to an improved defense looking to create havoc up front.
Denico Autry filled in after Edwards Jr. left early in the second defensive series, injuring himself making a tackle on Cardinals running back David Johnson.
Edwards Jr. was helped off the field by Mack and a Raiders trainer, struggling to walk towards the sideline even with help. He was carted off the field shortly after that.
The nature of his injury and its prognosis is unknown at this time. The Raiders did not update Edwards Jr.’s status during the game.
Friday marked the first game back for Edwards Jr. after he sprained his neck neck in Week 15 last season.
Starters played little in this game, with mixed results.
The first-team offense had some stutters and stops, with quarterback Derek Carr working on his deep ball while completing 3-of-7 passes for 44 yards in two series. The Raiders scored a field goal on those drives, highlighted by a 22-yard strike to Michael Crabtree. They also had a few pre-snap penalties they were hoping to avoid.
The starting defense played just one series as a whole, though the cornerbacks stuck around a bit longer. Tackling was suspect throughout the game and the Raiders had some pre-snap penalties, which will bother head coach Jack Del Rio.
Safety Nate Allen, linebacker Cory James and edge rusher Shilique Calhoun were among those playing well. DeAndre Washington had a nice 25-yard run, Johnny Holton had a 43-yard kickoff return and George Atkinson III scored on a 53-yard TD run in the third quarter and a 35-yard scamper in the fourth.
Rookie quarterback Connor Cook took over late in the third quarter and completed 7-of-11 passes for 71 yards.
Joseph suits up, starts: Raiders first-round pick Karl Joseph said Tuesday he would be surprised if he played early in the preseason while being cautious with his surgically repaired knee.
He must’ve been pretty happy trainers took no issue with him playing Friday’s exhibition opener against the Cardinals. He didn’t play much, but he got on the field.
Joseph played the game’s first series. He took nine snaps and made a tackle, bringing Cardinals rusher David Johnson down from behind.
Several key defensive players made a similar exit to preserve health, including edge rusher Khalil Mack.
Matt McGloin shines in preseason, per usual: Raiders backup quarterback Matt McGloin has long been a preseason wonder, making excellent plays when given the opportunity in exhibition games.
He threw touchdown passes on his first two series, including a well-placed fade to Andre Holmes along the left sideline. He also connected with rookie tight end Clive Walford from 19 yards out, taking advantage of a missed assignment.
All told, McGloin completed 5-of-11 passes for 41 yards and two touchdowns.
Sitting it out: The Raiders announced before the game that running back Jalen Richard was unavailable. The undrafted rookie suffered an undisclosed injury earlier this week and, consequently, missed an opportunity to earn a roster spot.
Cornerback/punt returner Antonio Hamilton and safety Jimmy Hall were also ruled out of Friday’s exhibition.
What's next: The Raiders have a short week, with several down days between the first and second preseason games. The Raiders will lay low over the weekend, break camp in Napa after two practices and then travel to Green Bay for a Thursday game.