This might be the worst game of the 2017 preseason to perform any scouting studies on. The Raiders went with E.J. Manuel (10-12 for 107 yards) to start while we saw the Arizona starters for a moment and then Drew Stanton (11-15 for 112 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) took over and looked like Aaron Rodgers…while stuck with a heavy dose of Elijhaa Penny (14-54-0), who is still seeing a lot of preseason work for some reason. Not many exciting, breakout moments came from this game…by ‘not many’, I mean ‘none’.
The player notes I have…
— I spent much of a re-re-watch focusing in on IDP rookie Haason Reddick (1 tackle). He still doesn’t look comfortable at middle linebacker. He’s not playing poorly and he’s obviously a good athlete, but all that goes out the window if his feet are planted in cement too long as he’s examining what to do. I saw a lot of chasing, slightly late reacting versus watching any ‘wow’ factor.
It’s too early to make any definitive call here but you can usually see ILBs have that ‘thing’ that ‘gear’ like an Elandon Roberts/NE for example – they just move towards the action almost as if gliding on autopilot. Guys like Reddick and a Myles Jack/JAC (talents, but no ILB experience) tend to sit and look at things for a split second and then try to react…and it costs them precious time. I know it’s early in Reddick’s ILB conversion, I’m just pointing it out that any expectation of instant impact for IDP is likely not going to happen.
You also have to worry will he ever get it? Not that he doesn’t belong on the field, but will you care about him 2-3 years from now for fantasy/IDP? Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez are both better ILBs than Reddick right now…now and long term.
— Speaking of nice reacting linebackers – Ben Heeney is on a milk carton somewhere. Someday he will emerge…likely with the Patriots (or Bills), and we’ll go “Oh, that Belichick does it again.”
Cory James (7 tackles) started and did a decent job of using his athleticism of getting to plays, but he seems a hair too late on what he’s doing as well. He’s not a disruptor, he’s just there and makes tackles because he’s there…if that makes any sense?
— Raiders 2nd-year IDP James Cowser (2 tackles, 1 TFL) seemed like he was around the action all night, mostly as a rush end. He didn’t make a splash to me beyond playing a lot and seeing him in the camera shot a bunch, but that’s an improvement from last year.
— After E.J. Manuel left, Connor Cook (10-21 for 82 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) came in…and I want to be clear with my statement here: Cook may be the single worst QB in the NFL on any roster right now. All Cook does is what he always has done at QB – he decides where he is throwing before the snap and that ball is headed in that general direction as fast as he can rid himself of the hot potato. This guy has no business in the NFL…what a wasted draft pick and roster spot.
FYI, he was some draft analyst’s top QB for a minute last season.
— Cordarrelle Patterson (2-22-0/3) worked with the starting group in this game…no special ‘protected’ status for him. He looked fine. I didn’t see any special spark, but he made nice catches and got upfield pretty fast.
On one play, CP tried to juke a defender and got stopped quickly…his cutting ability looked like garbage – from a stop and start standpoint. He’s great full speed and a little shift past everyone. Him trying to approach a tackler in congestion and dance past them…not his game. I’m interested to see if he’ll be used more open field wise or as a slot guy working the middle…and losing some effectiveness.
I’m still hopeful on Patterson but I’m pretty much moving on. I don’t trust the Oakland situation, but hope I am proven wrong.
— There’s a lot of hoopla about Marshawn Lynch on a number of levels. I would just like to add the following thought on why I’m starting to think the Raiders situation/uptick is about to melt away…
So, Lynch doesn’t stand for the national anthem. That’s a firestorm to some degree as it is. He further adds fire by sitting on a bench/trunk and eats a banana during it. That’s the optics…not good optics. Lynch takes a year off and then comes back and seems to be building some kind of brand – I’m not sure if football quality is his primary objective.
I’m sure the coaches preach ‘team’ and ‘family’ all day, and coming off a very promising season with all signs pointing up…the team purposefully adds a guy who’s acting like a bit of a diva, and now a lightning rod. He’s becoming a personality. Somewhat of a sideshow…and the NFL usually doesn’t like that. The media does, but I’m not sure the locker room or organization does. I don’t have any insight on that from sources, I’m just speculating that everyone is busting their ass and then the carnival rolls into town in the form of Marshawn Lynch and the team rolls out a red carpet…for what? A running back? Are the other players pleased or resentful? Not sure.
He better run for yards and TDs right off the jump — or this story could turn on the Raiders internally. Do you want Marshawn Lynch as the face of your franchise/the main story? He is right now for them. Talented distractions never seem to work out all that well for NFL teams. Tim Tebow hurt his team, unwittingly, as did Colin Kaepernick — it’s not their politics or religion, it’s their distraction. All Chip Kelly was ever asked last year was about Colin Kaepernick. It has to wear on the players and coaches. Is Lynch about to go there, unintentionally by him?
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