Gutierrez: Raiders' second-team DBs a concern

August 12, 2011, 8:32 am
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comOAKLAND -- Generally, there are few things to glean from opening exhibition games, what with starters playing so few series.What was glaring, though, in Oakland's 24-18 loss to Arizona Thursday night, was the significant drop-off from the Raiders' first-team secondary to its back-ups. Especially among its young cornerbacks.
Not that Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson were the second coming of Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes against the Cardinals. Besides, Routt and Johnson only played one series apiece, although their names were read off first in pregame introductions in what could be interpreted as a shot across the bow of the S.S. Asomugha.But rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke and second-year vet Walter McFadden were anything but Routt and Johnson, let alone Nnamdi Asomugha.McFadden, whose baptism by fire came last season against Miami, had a flashback, of sorts, against the Cardinals. More than a few, actually, while getting beat and being flagged for a pair of pass interference penalties.Van Dyke, meanwhile, found himself lined up against an All-Pro receiver in Larry Fitzgerald. And found himself in a memorable learning exercise."It was pretty exciting, kind of shocking," Van Dyke said. "But I play football in the NFL and he plays football in the NFL."And Van Dyke actually had position on Fitzgerald on that long bomb down the left sideline from Kevin Kolb that ended up a 43-yard pick up."Yeah I should have came up with the interception," he said. "That was my fault; I didn't play the ball. You live and you learn."You're going to get beat. Just got to block that out."Even if Stephen Williams beat him across the middle for an 18-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter."I felt like I was getting comfortable playing NFL football," Van Dyke said. "At first I felt kind of nervous, but with every play I got more used to it."Truly, the lone bright spot among the younglings in the secondary was provided by undrafted free agent Sterling Moore. On consecutive plays, the rookie from SMU broke up a pass then picked up a sack.Said coach Hue Jackson: "Obviously it was an eye-opening experience for the whole team. There are some things we've got to shore up. There are some things our players have to get better at. I'm very confident we will."Primarily, it should start with the second-string secondary.