Top 5 takeaways from Raiders preseason loss to Vikings
Tale of the tape
Jack Del Rio’s Raiders lost to the Minnesota Vikings 20-12 on Saturday evening. Insider Scott Bair offers up five takeaways from the Silver and Black’s second preseason game...
5. Flags come flying
The Raiders were penalized just twice last week against St. Louis, a rare feat for the year’s first preseason game. They were far less discipline on the road, drawing 13 penalties for 106 yards. Jack Del Rio inferred that the flags were only flying one way – the Vikings were only penalized once for 10 yards – especially in regard to illegal contact and unnecessary roughness on the defensive end. That may be true. Officials controversially ruled against the Raiders several times, but there were still too many procedural calls for comfort.
4. Hayden picked on often
Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden got picked on Saturday night, especially on critical downs against Vikings starters. He extended one drive with a third-down penalty and another by allowing a fourth-down completion. He gave up a touchdown in single coverage – Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater admittedly threw a nice pass – on a night where he wasn’t close enough to make plays on balls in the air. If he doesn’t do better, quarterbacks will keep throwing his way. Without standout options to take a big role, the Raiders need Hayden to get things right.
3. Carr can stretch
Receiver Amari Cooper was only targeted twice and made one catch, but it was a statement reception. The rookie first-round pick beat single coverage down the right sideline and quarterback Derek Carr delivered a perfect deep ball on a 40-yard completion that proved the Raiders can go deep. He nearly hit Seth Roberts on another big play. Carr was criticized for playing it too safe last season despite having arm strength to let it fly, and that Cooper catch shows what those who watch practice each day already know: the deep ball is a nuclear weapon in Carr’s arsenal.
2. Dyer upstages Richardson
Undrafted rookie running back Michael Dyer and fourth-year pro Trent Richardson are locked in a position battle to be Latavius Murray’s backup. Richardson has had some decent runs but looked slow to hit holes and produce steadily. He had just five yards on five carries. Dyer was given a greater opportunity to shine, and had 45 yards on 12 carries. The Raiders hope Richardson can figure it out, but he hasn’t put a good foot forward.
1. Youngsters giving defense depth
There was concern that the Radiers defense was a scary thing, but rookies and second year players have added meat to bare bones. Rookie fifth-rounder Ben Heeney led the team in tackles yet again. He had seven against the Vikings and reserve end Denico Autry had four. Shelby Harris continues to make plays. Second-round pick Mario Edwards Jr. played far better than a week ago. There is just concern about the cornerbacks, but the Raiders should have quality injury protection in the front seven.