Raiders

Mike Glennon, Nate Peterman giving Raiders solid play behind Derek Carr

Mike Glennon, Nate Peterman giving Raiders solid play behind Derek Carr

NAPA – The Raiders' quarterbacks were collectively awesome Thursday against Arizona.

Derek Carr scored an efficient touchdown in his only series. Mike Glennon turned in a perfect passer rating over five drives. Nathan Peterman played the entire second half without throwing an incomplete pass.

That’s a positive heading toward the 2019 season. Carr has been as good as ever in this training camp, and his training-camp backups have been far better than recent seasons.

It’s hard to call the backup quarterback spot a position battle anymore, with Glennon running away with it. Peterman has been good, but Glennon is slinging it all over the field with confidence and zip.

He threw two interceptions in the preseason opener against the L.A. Rams but was solid outside that. He was near perfect against the Cardinals, showing the kind of firm command coaches love from backup quarterbacks.

Peterman entered and ran a ton of read option, showing athleticism and wise, albeit conservative decision making during his time behind center.

There’s no sense in comparing the two, because they were asked to do different things. Both guys are doing their job well to this stage.

“We’ve have been happy,” Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Sunday. “Things have been really clean in terms of mechanics getting in and out of the huddle and runs things at the line of scrimmage.

“They’ve done what they’ve been asked to do. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there have been different game plans between Glennon and Peterman, and they’ve both handled their responsibilities really well. They have produced and prepared well. We have been happy with their development.”

Raiders fans will see plenty of both guys in Thursday’s preseason game in Winnipeg, with Carr expected to sit out against the Packers.

They’ll try to cement roles or show their ability on tape for other prospective employers. It seems likely the Raiders will keep just two quarterbacks, with other positions needing extra bodies. Carr and Glennon seem to be that pair, though Peterman would be a third guy or someone with practice squad eligibility if he can clear waivers.

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Peterman’s viewed as a punch line at times for some rough starts made for Buffalo, but he has been solid in this training camp and has gotten some confidence back. He’s still just 25 with a strong, accurate arm.

“We have two veteran backup quarterbacks who have started in this league,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “I think they are both good enough to play in the NFL, but we’re not done yet.”

Vontaze Burfict's football IQ critical to Raiders’ defense playing fast

Vontaze Burfict's football IQ critical to Raiders’ defense playing fast

The Raiders set out to get faster on defense. That mission was accomplished in every sense.

That’s true by traditional measures, as the Raiders hope their raw speed can keep up with the track stars Kansas City trots out on offense Sunday afternoons.

It’s also true in terms of reading and diagnosing plays. The Raiders installed a faster multi-core processor this offseason, plugging Vontaze Burfict into a defensive network that now runs at warp speed.

Burfict has mastered Paul Guenther’s scheme and knows exactly how to adjust and re-align to best defend a particular offensive play. Burfict is confident in his reads, efficient and clear when dispensing pre-snap information. Being in the right spot, able to anticipate what’s coming, allowing the defense to play faster.

Burfict as Guenther’s field general has been a storyline since the veteran joined the Raiders in March, and his scheme knowledge assisted returners and newcomers alike during the preseason.

That was clear when operating at game speed. Burfict orchestrated the defense well in a Monday night victory over Denver, making individuals better while helping the defense play as a cohesive unit.

“It was awesome,” defensive tackle Maurice Hurst said. “He knows the system inside and out, so he’s able to make checks pretty quickly. He always seems to know what’s coming and gets us aligned fast, so we can just play ball.”

The Raiders must play mentally and physically fast against Kansas City, armed with speed and an offense that will attack using both latitude and longitude.

“They make you defend every inch of grass,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “Laterally with the jet sweeps, you got to defend them sideline to sideline. They can outrun you, outflank you and vertically they can run right by you over the top.”

There’s a buzz word that describes the key to defending this high-powered attack.

“Eye discipline,” linebacker Nicholas Morrow said. “[Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid] will try to mess with a defense, to shift people around the formation and put you in a bad spot. They will do all types of things to play with your eyes and make you think you’re seeing one thing when it’s something else. You have to trust your preparation and make the right checks.”

That’s where Burfict comes in, and why he’s so key to the Raiders’ defensive effort on Sunday.

“He obviously knows the system, but Vontaze is very intelligent,” Morrow said. “He processes information quickly and is confident in what he’s doing. That’s what you want from somebody in his position.”

Burfict is the defense’s cerebral cortex, but he isn’t just directing troops while watching them work.

He plays with trademark intensity and didn’t step over the line in his Raiders debut. That’s key moving forward, because the Raiders need him on the field to succeed against Kansas City, a team that doesn’t need freebies to score.

“He’s really fun to play with,” Hurst said. “He’s an aggressive player. He’s going to come downhill and hit everything that moves. It’s awesome playing with someone like that.”

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Burfict fought through some knicks in the opener but didn’t miss a practice snap all week. It’s important for him to stay upright and available, because they need his presence and football smarts on all three downs.

“Those of us returning for a second year with Paul [Guenther] feel pretty fluent in the system,” cornerback Daryl Worley said. “But having a leader like Vontaze in complete command is definitely helpful.”

Chiefs-Raiders odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 2 game

Chiefs-Raiders odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 2 game

An undefeated record is on the line.

It may only be Week 2 but after the Raiders and Chiefs earned victories to open the season, both will look to keep the momentum rolling in Oakland on Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs are favored by a touchdown and likely would get a few additional points if the game were being played at Arrowhead Stadium.

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Line:

Caesars: KC -7 (-110)
Consensus: KC -7 (-110)
Westgate: KC -7 (-110)
Wynn: KC -7 (-110)

Here’s how NFL writers around the country see the matchup shaking out:

Paul Gutierrez, ESPN: Chiefs 38, Raiders 30
Adam Teicher, ESPN: Chiefs 37, Raiders 31
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Chiefs 30, Raiders 26
Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Chiefs 30, Raiders 17
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Chiefs 35, Raiders 21
Tadd Haislop, SportingNews: Chiefs 34, Raiders 20
Greg Patuto, Heavy.com: Chiefs 37, Raiders 21