Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 14, 2012
Preseason opener: Quarterback rundown

A look at how the Raiders' top three quarterbacks (no Kyle Newhall-Caballero sightings) fared in their 3-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday evening.

Carson Palmer: 3-for-6, 33 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. Palmer's longest gain came on his first pass play, a screen that Darren McFadden turned upfield for 18 yards. Two plays later, he took a shot depe down the far sideline for Jacoby Ford and had the pass picked off by Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who was lined up in the middle of the field and made a nice play coming over the top of Ford. Palmer didn't regret the throw.

"Part of that is what the preseason's for - when you have those opportunities, to take them," Palmer said. "Obviously now I'd take it back. The safety ended up making a great play on it. We'll continue to work and continue to figure out what's best for our guys individually and when to take those shots."

Palmer played two more series that each ended in punts (though both times a Cowboys penalty gave the Raiders the ball back). He made a sharp throw to tight end Richard Gordon's inside shoulder on 2nd and 12 from the Raiders' own 6 for an 8-yard gain. On the ensuing 3rd and 4 he appeared to want to throw a quick slant to receiver Rod Streater, but Streater got jammed coming off the line and Palmer tucked the ball and ran for a 1-yard gain.

Palmer's final line could have looked better if not for a pair of passes intended for Ford that bounced off Ford's hands. One could certainly make the argument that both should have been caught.

Matt Leinart: 11-for-16, 98 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT. Leinart appeared to be tasked with keeping the offense moving with short, quick completions. He made two deep throws - one over the middle to Streater for an 18-yard gain and, with 51 seconds left in the first half, a go route for Streater down the near sideline that fell incomplete.

It quickly became evident that Leinart has confidence in Streater, the undrafted rookie out of Temple, throwing to him seven times and completing six of them for 66 yards. Four of those completions resulted in first downs.

Leinart too was the victim of a dropped pass -- on 1st and 10 from the Cowboys' 34 he rolled out to his left and had a dragging Juron Criner wide open, but Criner couldn't hold onto the ball. He was also involved in a fumbled snap on 2nd and 8 from the Raiders' 46 on his first drive, which he recovered for a three-yard loss, and a delay of game penalty.

"I was pleased with the way Matt came in and played there in the second quarter and the end of the first half," head coach Dennis Allen said. "I thought he ran the offense well. I thought he executed. I thought he threw the ball well, took what the defense gave him. He took command of the huddle and commanded the offense, so I was pleased with where he was at."

Terrelle Pryor: 8-for-15, 50 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks, 6 carries, 21 yards. Pryor was experiencing his first extended game action since his final game at Ohio State nearly two years ago and clearly looked like a distant third behind Palmer and Leinart. He was deliberate with his reads at times, which led to his being pressured and trying to make plays with his feet. Sometimes it worked (scrambles for 9 and 12 yards on third downs) and sometimes it didn't (two sacks, including a costly one on a 2nd and 10 from the Cowboys' 40 on the Raiders' final drive that lost 16 yards).

"I think I could get through (the progressions) a little better," Pryor said after the game. "Today I felt like I only got through one or two of them and I started running. I just need to get better at that, getting to my three and four."

Pryor's longest completion was a 15-yarder to Brandon Carswell on 3rd and 14 right before the 2-minute warning on the Raiders' final drive. A handful of his throws nose-dived into the grass before they reached their targets, and his final throw was a floater over the middle intended for Carswell that was intercepted by safety Mana Silva to seal the win for the Cowboys.

"I think sometimes I had some good throws, but also my feet were messing up," said Pryor, who was visibly upset after the game and blamed himself for the outcome, preseason game notwithstanding.

"I started feeling a little more relaxed, you know, but it's been a long time, just playing with other people coming at you 100 miles per hour. I had some decent things, but I just think overall I played like crap. There ain't nothing much really to say about it. I thought I played bad. I just could've played a lot better and I will play better."

Allen's take on Pryor's performance: "For the first time to be on the football field in real game action, I was pleased he was able to get out there and get some reps and get some experience. Obviously we have to do a little better job getting in and out of the huddle and getting the play snapped a little bit sooner, but those are all things that can be corrected. So he's a work in progress and just like I've always talked to him about, I want to see him get a little bit better every day."

-- Matt Kawahara

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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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