Three lessons learned about the Raiders from the Hall of Fame game
The Las Vegas Raiders beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2022 preseason opener. What did we learn about the new-look Raiders?
There are a variety of questions hanging over the Kansas City Chiefs right now: How will new receivers fare? Will Patrick Mahomes return to MVP form this year? How much has the defense actually improved this offseason? All are well-founded curiosities and only time will tell the answers to each. Another question though, and this one is perhaps the most important, how good have the rest of AFC West become?
Thursday night we got our first glimpse – of sorts – of an AFC West rival last night in the Hall of Fame game when the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Jacksonville Jaguars. There were hardly any starter representatives from either team, but there were still a few notes to take on the new Raiders.
1. The offensive line is legit
The unit that had the most starters for either team in the game was the Raiders offensive line. Single left tackle Kolton Miller was absent from the pitch, and while his replacement Brandon Parker gave up two sacks, that was really the only low point of the night for the Raiders in the trenches.
One of the biggest takeaways from the Raiders’ offseason was their decision not to resume Josh Jacobsfifth year option. They have expenses to pay elsewhere, and they seem to be ok with quitting the star before her next payday. That said, the running backs carousel was spinning last night with five different halfbacks receiving multiple touches. They recorded 147 yards and 2 touchdowns as a group, largely thanks in part to offensive line work.
The lanes of traffic – though formed against the Jags’ second and third teams – were opened up time and time again, and the unit seemed cohesive. Again, it was all done without Miller, the starting left tackle, but the rotation, which included rookies Dylan Parham and Thayer Munfordseemed to be in unison all night in pass protection and run blocking.
The takeaway here is that the Raiders, assuming the offense clicks, will be able to score. If Derek Carr can stay on his feet and the running backs are able to balance the offense, Las Vegas should be more directly inserted into AFC West shootouts than it has been in recent history.