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What we learned from Raiders first preseason game

The Raiders opened the preseason with a loss to the Cardinals. While the 20-10 defeat isn’t of any value, there were still lessons learned from the night in Arizona.

Not risking Derek Carr

Coming off a broken fibula, Derek Carr doesn’t think he has any effects from the injury. But the Raiders took no chances with their quarterback, as Carr did not play Saturday night.

Carr was handed the richest deal in NFL history earlier this offseason, and the Raiders loss to Houston in the playoffs proved how important he is.

Plus with left tackle Donald Penn holding out, the Raiders offensive line is currently in a state of uncertainty. Jack Del Rio did not want to take any chances with Carr.  

EJ Manuel is the number two QB

The Raiders newest quarterback is also the number two quarterback. EJ Manuel, who came over from Buffalo this offseason, started the game and played the entire first half.

He only led the Raiders to three points, but he was accurate as a passer completing 10 of 12 passes for 107 yards.

His shining moment came when he dropped a ball over the shoulder of tight end Clive Walford for 30 yards in the final minute of the first half that set up a 43 yard field goal for Giorgio Tavecchio.

Connor Cook, who started for Carr in the playoffs last season, played the second half and went 10 for 21 for 82 yards. Neither quarterback threw a touchdown or interception. 

Need Lynch for short yardage

Third down and one from the Cardinals 46 yard line. Raiders line up in a three tight end set. Normally that will be Marshawn Lynch time, but he was a spectator all night.

Instead it was Jalen Richard, who was stuffed short of the line to gain on third and fourth down.

Richard and DeAndre Washington will play a big role like they did last season in the Raider offense, but those short yardage situations will be handled by Lynch and not the speed back Richard.

Lynch sits during national anthem

Colin Kaepernick has yet to sign with an NFL team, largely due to his protest of the national anthem. Marshawn Lynch has taken the same stance as Kaepernick.

Jack Del Rio did not know Lynch was going to sit for the anthem prior to the game. But Del Rio talked to his running back afterwards and determined that it will not be a distraction.
"I talked to Marshawn to make sure we were on the same page. He said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years, it’s not a form of anything other than me being myself’. I said, ‘So you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the National Anthem, but I’m gonna respect you as a man. You do your thing and we’ll do ours’. So that’s a non-issue for me,” Del Rio said.

Sean Smith is in trouble

Cornerback Sean Smith had shuffled between the first and second team in the week leading up to the first preseason game. Smith did not start at corner, but was called for pass interference on the second play of the game as the nickelback.

Smith nearly got embarrassed in the second quarter when he got tripped up by a double move. That left a receiver open in the endzone. Arizona’s Drew Stanton delivered a poor pass that fell incomplete.

Smith’s play may leave the door open for rookie Gareon Conley to play a lot of snaps this season, if he ever sees the field.

Cory James Impresses

The Raiders have serious questions at linebacker that led to rookie Marquel Lee starting at inside linebacker. Next to him was Cory James, the most impressive player on the Raiders defense.

James was filling holes and tracking down receivers throughout the first half and ended with team-high seven tackles. Lee added six tackles as well.

James is slotted as the starting weak-side linebacker on the Raiders depth chart. He is entering his second season after appearing in all 16 games last year and recording 48 tackles.

Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.