Ford's flop in exhibition opener an aberration?

August 14, 2012, 5:30 pm
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OAKLAND -- Sure, it was only a preseason game, a relatively meaningless exhibition in which the main goal is to emerge from it healthy. Right?So you could almost excuse Jacoby Ford for not selling out completely on the long bomb Carson Palmer threw his way down the left sideline in the Raiders' opening drive against Dallas Monday night, the ball falling into Gerald Sensebaugh's arms for an easy interception.But the lackluster manner in which Ford, ahem, chased Sensebaugh on his 31-yard return? Not so much.Same goes for his ensuing two drops on Palmer throws across the middle, one in which Ford exhibited "gator arms," and for his butchering a punt return when he muffed the ball and fell out of bounds for a one-yard gain.In fact, Ford was crushed on the opening kickoff. More of a breakdown in the return scheme than his fault, but it set the tone.RELATED: Jacoby Ford stats Splits 2011 Game logs
It was not a night worth remembering for Ford, starting at wide receiver in place of the hamstrung Denarius Moore. And with so many questions -- fair or not -- from observers wondering how he would react with his two best friends on the team the past two years now plying their trades elsewhere -- Jason Campbell is in Chicago, Louis Murphy in Carolina -- only more questions surfaced in the aftermath of Ford's showing. Again, fair or not.Or, as Raiders Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown told 95.7 The Game Tuesday morning about Ford, "He's got to clean up his act."Ouch.RELATED: "Monday Night Football" was just awful last night
Raiders coach Dennis Allen, meanwhile, did not defend Ford on his seeming lack of passion on the pick in his postgame media conference. Rather, he kind of said the opposite, reading between the lines."It was single-safety middle and we had a shot called with Jacoby and a little double move and I think the safety really made a nice play on the ball so we'll go back and take a look at it and see exactly what happened on the play," Allen said."But you get single-safety middle, you're going to throw the ball on the outside lanes and see if you can win."Ford did not win that matchup, rather, Sensebaugh did.So much was made this summer about the chemistry between Ford and Palmer -- remember the icy sideline glare in last year's season finale when Ford slipped on the sidelines and Palmer's pass to him was picked? -- and both insisted it was much improved this camp. But while Palmer was just three-of-six passing, his three incompletions against the Cowboys went Ford's way.Reading too much into it? Maybe. It is the preseason, after all. Right?