We learned quite a bit about the 2010 Raiders in the third preseason game, often considered a regular season primer.
Although the Raiders lost the final score, the score when the bulk of the starters exited the game was 21-17 with the Raiders leading. Bruce Gradkowski played significant time with the starters taking over for Jason Campbell when he was knocked from the game with a stinger. The injury to Campbell is not considered serious.
Campbell was hit on the blindside by Travis LaBoy, who blew by left tackle Mario Henderson.
Henderson continues to be a below average left tackle. If the Raiders had a legitimate alternative Henderson would be benched.
The only other option is rookie Jared Veldheer. Although Veldheer’s talents may be put to better use as the center if Samson Satele misses significant time with an ankle injury.
Veldheer failed to diagnose an A gap blitz by Patrick Willis, but otherwise performed well.
Langston Walker has been inconsistent at right tackle in terms of pass blocking. He has little pressure behind him, but still needs to be better.
Rolando McClain is on a steep learning curve. McClain made multiple mistakes including not sinking deep enough into zone coverage which resulted in a 49ers touchdown pass.
Perhaps more concerning was the appearance that McClain was not giving 100% effort in the game. Hopefully this is something the coaches will address in the film room. McClain may be protecting himself for the regular season.
On a positive note, McClain has yet to make the same mistake twice, showing an amazing ability to learn from them.
Stanford Routt had a chance to grab the starting cornerback position from injured Chris Johnson and didn’t waste it. Routt broke up several passes and had solid coverage.
Michael Huff proved once again that he isn’t very good at tackling. Gore bounced off Huff to scamper 49 yards before Tyvon Branch could push him out of bounds.
Tommy Kelly made his presence known and applied consistent pressure, but the Raiders weren’t good at applying pressure on the quarterback for most of the game.
Michael Bush was much more effective than Darren McFadden. This has been reoccurring theme that the coaching staff must surely see.
The problem is now that Michael Bush has a broken left thumb. It is unclear if or how much time Bush will miss with the injury.
The Raiders didn’t defend the run well, a theme that has carried over from last season despite a defensive makeover.
Receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy performed well despite a couple drops. They will need to continue to put up solid performances to help the offense.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that this was a preseason game. Preseason games are rarely indicators of regular season success.
So take the good and bad with a grain of salt. Even the third preseason game consisted of a vanilla defense and watered down offense.