Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 14, 2009
The afterglow of a 31-10 exhibition victory

Yes, it was just an exhibition game. But when things have been as bad as they have been at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway the past few years, you take what you can get. And a 31-10 defeat of the Dallas Cowboys in both team's exhibition opener is more than enough reason to get excited.

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell looked and played like a leader...for the two series in which he was on the field.

Chaz Schilens looked like a legit option at wide receiver.

Darren McFadden showed flashes of brilliance coming out of the backfield.

The defense was hawking to the ball.

"I thought we played with really good effort," coach Tom Cable said. "I thought we were playing at a very fast pace with good speed in all three phases. We had some goals going out. We wanted to get in some rhythm offensively and I thought we did that throwing the ball. A couple of protection issues in that first half that we got straightened out. Defensively, we wanted to be disciplined and stay in gaps. Part of that I feel decent about and part of that has to improve.

"Biggest negative I saw was too many penalties."

The Raiders were called for 14 penalties for 107 yards.

- First-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey's pro debut was nondescript as the No. 7 overall pick from Maryland started and caught one ball for eight yards. Russell, though, went deep to him and underthrew him for an incompletion.

"I knew the ball might be coming my way," DHB said. "Outside release, corner did a good job, safety got over and helped pretty fast. Tried to make a play, didn't happen."

Said Russell: "Due to his speed...he has to get an outside release to give him more room to work on the boundaries."

"At the same time, those guys will see his speed and those safeties were getting over pretty fast."

- Russell is a fan of Michael Vick, so the Raiders QB was happy to hear the disgraced dogfighting quarterback was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles earlier Thursday.

"I thought it was great," Russell said. "Giving him another chance, best wishes goes out to him and it was sooner or later before somebody gave him a shot and Philadelphia did and let's see him out there."

- The Raiders eschewed the blitz last season but showed at least four blitzes in the first half alone.

"We're going to keep working to be who we are on defense," Cable said. "I think our personality is becoming that of an attacking group. We like who we have in the secondary, so why not use those other guys as weapons?'

- Three players did not finish the game - Jon Wade (stinger), Nnamdi Asomugha (heel) and Ike Ekejiuba (shoulder).

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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