The Oakland Raiders lost their second pre-season game on Friday, 31-27 to the Arizona Cardinals. While the offense looked shaky and not quite on the same timing, but one player continues to play at a level above any other Raider this pre-season. Undrafted rookie Rod Streater was considered a long shot to play in the NFL, but so far this pre-season, he is playing better than any other Raider on the field.
Streater caught 6 balls for 60 yards in the Raiders pre-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, then came back on just four days rest and catch 7 balls for 43 yards. While his yardage totals are nothing to write home about, his consistent play and solid decision making have made him stand out. Streater has caught a good number of passes each game, but more importantly, has worked at a lot of the catches. By the end of the first half, Carson Palmer was throwing the ball to Streater in double coverage because he was confident the rookie would go up and fight for the ball. Streater showed a lot of savvy coming back to the ball multiple times in order to give Palmer an option when he was under pressure from the pass rush and consistently plucking the ball out of the air with his hands and never using his body to make a catch.
Streater also made what was likely a touchdown saving tackle when Palmer threw an interception down field that was returned over 30 yards. He has shown a strong work ethic, a desire to improve, and most importantly, he plays more like a veteran than a rookie. Don't be surprised if Streater ends up playing a large role in the Raiders passing game this season.
Is there a New Running Back in Town?
Mike Goodson had to leave the game early due to an injury on Friday night. Before that, Goodson was having a miserable game having fumbled the ball multiple times and managing only 5 yards on 6 touches. Meanwhile, Lanyae Miller, the second year back out of Fresno, made a strong argument for a roster position, Miller carried the ball 15 times for 54 yards and a touchdown. The 3.6 yards per carry is not overly impressive, but they were all hard earned yards gained up the gut. with the departure of Michael Bush during the off season, the Raiders have a big need for a bruising back who can close out games and be used in short yardage and goal line situations. With the Raiders likely to keep Taiwan Jones based on draft status and raw potential, if the Raiders do not opt to keep four backs, Goodson may find himself being cut in favor of the guy capable of earning the tough yards.
Defensive Line Looks Beastly in the Pass Rush.
They looked pretty good in the run game too, but Kevin Kolb may have nightmares about this game for a while. The Raiders consistently put pressure on Kolb and from multiple players coming from multiple positions. At one point, the Raiders blitzed both Tyvon Branch and Philip Weaver resulting in four Raiders converging on Kolb simultaneously. The Raiders clearly have a lot of depth on their defensive line and any concerns over the loss of pass rusher Kamerion Wimbley in the off season are now a thing of the past.