The Oakland Raiders were successful in the first game of their 2010 exhibition season against the Dallas Cowboys. Successful, in that, they looked improved over their 2009 iteration, which is all you really ask of preseason, no? It serves as a point to improve, piece things together, try out your new players and maybe get a little creative on the playcalling front. Put some linebackers on the d-line, try some wide receiver end-arounds and throw your nickel back into a punt return situation. Throw things at the wall and hope they stick - but that's not always the case.
Sometimes you just want your starters to look like they can play the game of football. Sometimes you wonder if all your guys collectively can grasp the fundamentals of a professional game of American football. Some would say that the Raiders had trouble doing that last year, and I'd be inclined to agree. The more cynical would say that the Raiders had trouble doing that last Thursday, and I'd be inclined to disagree.
The Raiders have a lot of questions - more questions than answers, in fact, but it appears to be a good balance overall. Their defense shined, with LaMarr Houston picking up a pair of sacks and Matt Shaughnessy mate a strong case for being a starter on the line. The question with those two is: can they be consistent? They'll get long looks going into Saturday's game against the Chicago Bears, for sure. Neither Houston nor Shaughnessy were known commodities going into the game, and as such, they didn't command much of a double team. Expect them to get treated as such on Saturday.
Throughout the week, rookie offensive linemen Bruce Campbell and Jared Veldheer will get more and more practice, and on Saturday should get more and more time, in an effort to strengthen what is possibly Oakland's weakest position.
Look for Nnamdi Asomugha to continue practicing on other sides of the field throughout the week, in an effort to get him ready to play all over the field this coming season. Last year, Nnamdi was always on the right side and always in man coverage. Teams would circumvent this by putting their number one on the left side, but they're looking to nullify that this year.
Jason Campbell will probably get the same amount of playing time as last Thursday, only in on a few plays to gauge accuracy and the ability to understand the playbook while commanding the offense.
Look for more updates here on camp, injuries and the like. We'll have a full preview and recap for the game in the coming days.