The Raiders preseason continued Saturday night in Miami. The team left several key players at home. However, the position battles still in question were on full display. After taking the opening kick the Raiders would drive down the field to start the game again. Picking up a couple of 3rd downs and a 4th down Las Vegas scored on its opening drive for the 3rd straight game. This time was a touchdown with rookie Zamir White punching it in. After a late missed field goal the Raiders held on 15-13 to improve to 3-0 this preseason. Here is what stood out from Miami in my Raiders preseason review week 3 vs Dolphins.
After the release of Demarcus Robinson the Raiders were looking to step up. Early in Miami Saturday the silver and black had multiple guys making a statement. Keelan Cole, Tyron Johnson and DJ Turner all continue to make plays. The Raiders might keep 6 WR on the final roster as tough decisions loom. Each guy offers something a little different and is capable of taking over a series or two. Coach McDaniels should have great depth and the ability to create mismatches. The play of the entire group this preseason has been fun to watch.
The Alex Leatherwood RT experiment is over and that’s unfortunately the way it is. He was getting beat soundly every single snap he was on the field. The question now becomes do they try to move him back to guard? He could still add some depth unless the team looks to trade him. Leatherwood has an 11 million dollar dead cap hit if he is released so that isn’t happening. This contract is something the new regime inherited and must find a way to make it work. Hopefully the days of awful drafting is behind the team as they move forward.
Defense Flying Around
The Dolphins played their starters Saturday night but it did not matter to the Raiders defense. Guys were flying around all over the field making plays for the silver and black. After a rough showing vs the run last week the Raiders held the Dolphins to 4yds rushing in the first half. Highlighted by Jonathan Hankins return and 2 big run stuffs back to back early in the 2nd Quarter.
The defense also made Miami quarterbacks night difficult applying pressure and even recording a safety. When the Dolphins receivers did make the catch they were immediately hit hard and separated from the ball. Jonathan Abram had a couple nice hits but the play of the first half was CB Sam Webb forcing and recovering a fumble after a huge hit before half. The play was a clear touchdown but the refs inexplicably blew the whistle so the Raiders had to settle for a change of possession.
Another area where the Raiders are stacked is at Running Back. Throughout the preseason it seems no matter who carries the ball they are having success. For the last two games a back that has stood is rookie Brittain Brown. As a 7th round selection not much was expected from Brown with the numbers at the position and the earlier selection of Zamir White in the draft. Brown has shown a punishing running style and has made the most of his carries.
It’s hard to imagine two rookie RBs making the 53 man roster but it isn’t impossible . One scenario where a spot could open is if the team moves on from Kenyan Drake. In my opinion he doesn’t seem to fit this offense but coming off an injury and his contract it may be too hard to move on this year. It will definitely worth keeping an eye on when final roster cuts are made on August 30th .
One More Left
The Raiders finish up the preseason next Friday vs the New England Patriots. The teams will hold joint practices leading up to the game. It would seem the quality work will get done during those practices. Leaving the preseason finale as a game to really look at guys trying to make the final cut while all of the starters and most backups rest. The Raiders will look to finish the preseason undefeated and quickly begin preparing for Week 1 September 11th at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Thanks for your time reading my article and for more Raiders talk follow me on Twitter http://@BrianRobert85. You can also check out one of my previous articles here Derek Carr MVP Candidate where I preview Derek Carr as an MVP candidate.
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