Penalties hurt Raiders in exhibition opener

Penalties hurt Raiders in exhibition opener
August 8, 2014, 10:30 pm
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The mistakes we have to totally clean up are the ones that happen before the snap and put us in bad situations.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen

MINNEAPOLIS -– The Vikings defeated the Raiders 10-6 in Friday night’s preseason game, but the Raiders did a pretty good job of beating themselves.

They had a whopping 13 penalties for 94 yards.

Nearly half of them came on third down, either gifting first downs or decreasing odds of getting their own.

It was especially problematic in the early going. The Raiders started the game with a false start. A face mask took away a solid run by Maurice Jones-Drew.

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The defense got involved later, with a neutral zone infraction on 2nd-and-15 and a defensive holding call on 3rd-and-3.

Head coach Dennis Allen considered penalties the “big story of the game.”

The Raiders worked with officials a few times in training camp, but the experience does not replicate an in-game environment, especially when officials are trying to make certain infractions –- illegal contact in the passing game, for example –- a greater point of emphasis this preseason.

“They weren’t kidding about an increased focus on certain things,” cornerback Chimdi Chekwa said. “I wonder how that will be during the season. It probably won’t be as bad when we get used to them as things go along.”

Those deal with in-play penalties. Pre-snap infractions, Allen says, are never okay.

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“A lot of those penalties occurred during the play,” Allen said, “but the mistakes we have to totally clean up are the ones that happen before the snap and put us in bad situations.”

While penalties weren’t the only issue, they severely hindered the Raiders attempt to start well this preseason.

“There’s a learning curve in a preseason, but we have to a better job with the details,” left guard Austin Howard said. “It’s little things, technical mistakes that can lead to a flag being thrown, and we have to fine tune those things. We have to get back to basics, have a progressive week of practice and have a better outing next week.”