This normally is a time and space where we discuss three things we learned from a particular Raiders game.
But we can’t do that after what happened Thursday night in Winnipeg. IG Field’s artificial surface made that tradition moot.
Unstable turf forced the Raiders and Green Bay Packers to play a preseason game on an 80-yard field, prompting both teams to sit their starters and impact reserves.
The Packers made 33 players inactive. The Raiders sat Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs and Vontaze Burfict and most everyone expected to make a significant contribution this season.
There was nothing to see here that will have a significant impact on this regular season.
The show went on anyway, ending with a 22-21 win for the Raiders in what essentially was a live scrimmage.
Both teams would’ve gotten more from joint practices where nobody gets taken to the ground. That’s especially true for the Packers, who saw their top two draft picks, Rashan Gary and Equanimeous St. Brown, leave the field with injuries.
The Raiders didn’t play their top eight NFL draft picks from this year, though three were hurt prior to the game. No. 4 overall draft pick Clelin Ferrell was one of 24 players the Raiders left at home when they flew to Winnipeg on Wednesday night.
Raiders head coach/offensive mastermind Jon Gruden didn’t even call all of the offensive plays, according to the team's TV broadcast.
We could nitpick how Nick Nelson’s struggles could impact his unsettled roster spot with Keisean Nixon playing so well, if Keelan Doss pushed his way onto the roster, that Anthony Rush lock up a spot, that Keith Smith made himself heard or whether P.J. Hall put himself in a better position to keep his job. Why should we, when most on the field Thursday won't make an NFL roster?
Even the Raiders didn’t get want they wanted from the on-field action. Their hope was to see how some of their back-of-the-depth chart players would fare against Green Bay’s best, but that went for naught when most Packers were sat down.
Let’s put ourselves in a Canadian fan’s shoes instead of siphoning water from a rock. Tickets to this exhibition – we can’t call this a real game without 20 yards of real estate – were exorbitant.
The best seats reportedly cost $450 after taxes and fees, though the price for certain sections were slashed to invigorate sluggish ticket sales.
Imagine if you paid initial sticker price to see Carr and Aaron Rodgers stand on the sideline. Imagine if you even signed up at a lesser bottom line, only to see officials deem an end zone unplayable.
That’s a bad way to spend a hard-earned dollar, U.S. or Canadian.
Let’s be clear. Much of this is on the promoter, and whoever signed off on the field conditions.
This game wasn’t played in Oakland to lessen rent paid to the Oakland Coliseum, increase Raiders football visibility in a new market and avoid a conflict with the Athletics playing the Yankees at home on the same night.
This result can't be what the Raiders wanted, on the business or football side. Coaches will glean insight from this game film, but there isn’t much to take from this exhibition that will resonate through the 2019 campaign.
Field conditions will provide the only lasting memory from this event in Canada, one the Raiders certainly hoped would leave a better impression than this.