Upon further review: Closer look at Raiders' preseason opener

Scott and Kate: Pryor learned from costly mistake

Upon further review: Closer look at Raiders' preseason opener
August 10, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Sio Moore sacked Tony Romo for a 5-yard loss on the Cowboys' first offensive possession Friday night. (AP)

Sio Moore was the ninth linebacker selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. (AP)

Editor's note: Training camp is underway. For all the latest news on the Silver and Black, check out our Raiders training camp page

The Raiders’ 19-17 preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys contained several positives, some answers, and many more questions about this overhauled roster. We’ve had a night to sleep on it and a tape to review, and there was more to that game than meets the naked eye.

Here, as will become customary after each game, we’ll break down plays and re-evaluate certain players and how they performed.

Play breakdown 
The sack-fumble: Quarterback Matt Flynn stood no chance on that play. The Cowboys overloaded blitzers on the left side, sending slot cornerback Orlando Scandrick early and middle linebacker Sean Lee late. With running back Darren McFadden and tight end David Ausberry sent into the pattern, the Raiders had no one left to pick up Lee’s blitz. A pre-snap adjustment could’ve kept a blocker back, but Lee disguised his blitz well.

Many didn’t realize at the time that Lee’s sack didn’t cause the fumble. Right guard Mike Brisiel got beat one-on-one by Dallas end Jason Hatcher, who actually stripped the ball before Lee reached Flynn.

[RELATED: Flynn, McFadden make cameos vs. Cowboys]

In that instance, protection broke down completely and led to a turnover.

Sio’s sack: Rookie linebacker Sio Moore recorded his first sack as a Raider on his third defensive snap. While it was labeled a coverage sack due to excellent play by the secondary, Moore played a heavy hand in the outcome.

[REWIND: Moore doubles down on 'best linebacker in draft' proclamation]

Moore was well blocked rushing on the left side, but, when he saw Dallas quarterback Tony Romo biding time, he disengaged his block, worked his way back to the right and made the big hit.

The blocked FG: Tyvon Branch and Kevin Burnett hit the same gap at the same time, overloading David Arkin, who didn’t spread out enough on the line. Branch skipped through, jumped and made an excellent block.

Another look at Terrelle

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor showed improvement during a solid second quarter. He made plays and made it clear how valuable quarterback athleticism can be.

Even on correct decisions, Pryor showed some hesitation that, if eliminated, would help him play even faster.

[RELATED: Pryor wows, frustrates in preseason opener]

The Raiders aren’t asking him to make complex reads, which is smart on their part. He’s making just a few scripted reads and then deciding what to do. He missed some open receivers and could’ve run at times when he didn’t – most notably on the interception where he had room to run and chose to throw across his body, into heavy traffic.

After the interception, Pryor didn’t get yelled at. Coach Dennis Allen pulled him aside immediately and used the mistake as a coachable moment.

Allen got through to him, because Pryor’s second series was excellent. He moved the ball downfield quickly despite a serious time crunch and looked confident doing everything. He got the Raiders in field goal range, and came away with points due to smart decisions.

 
Pryor wasn’t perfect, but is clearly better and worthy of the package being created for him.

[RELATED: Raiders building special package for Pryor]

Hindsight is 20/20

-- Tony Bergstrom looked much better on tape than he did from the press box. He played extremely well at left guard, which he manned with the first and second team. The sack-fumble wasn’t his fault. He pulled effectively several times on rushing plays, including a near-perfect block that sealed an interior crease for Rashad Jennings’ 16-yard run in the second quarter.

-- Mike Brisiel didn’t look any better at right guard. He lost control of blocks on several occasions that disrupted early runs and got Flynn in trouble.

[INSTANT REPLAY: McGloin steals show, Raiders gut out win]

-- Quarterback Matt McGloin got a ton of credit for his play in the third quarter. Receiver Brice Butler didn’t get enough. He put himself in position to make to long catches, and showed excellent concentration on the 30-yard touchdown catch he had to reach out and secure with his fingertips.

 
-- Alex Barron played admirably as the second-team left tackle. Very little got by him.

-- Phillip Adams has a strong day at cornerback. Made a few nice plays on the outside.

-- Chris Kluwe and Marquette King had one punt each, and King’s was a high-arching beauty, in the air forever, that was muffed and recovered by the Raiders. Kluwe didn’t get a good one off, and it only traveled 36 yards.

-- Middle linebacker Omar Gaither played a ton in this game. He’s clearly better than the teams he was playing on. He looked good in pass coverage and made nice stops and closed gaps against the run and blitzed well from the inside. Ryan Robinson stood out in the latter stages at defensive end.

-- It seems like Tyler Wilson is in his own head. He’s a bit behind mentally, and looks hesitant to pull the trigger. Wilson showed in college that he can make most throws, but he’s not making them now. Wilson was behind or ahead of receivers during his quarter of work, although he made a few nice passes.

Pass rush gets a pass: The Raiders first-team defense didn’t get much of a pass rush, especially when rushing four men, largely because starting defensive end Lamarr Houston and starting tackles Pat Sims and Vance Walker were held out.