If the second preseason game is any indication, the success of the Raiders’ offense could very well come down to whether it can counter pass rush pressure.
Though the Lions didn’t sack Raiders starter Matt Schaub, Detroit was able to get after the 11th-year passer on several of his dropbacks. While Schaub did complete 8-of-13 passes for 87 yards, it wasn’t always pretty for the Raiders’ passing game and pass protection, and Oakland had some real problems at times.
However, on Schaub’s last drive, the Raiders adjusted well to the Lions’ tactics. When the Lions rushed four and sent two more rushers late, the Raiders hit a 22-yard screen pass with Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran with some spark on Friday night.
In Jones-Drew and fullback Marcel Reece, the Raiders have two very good pass catching backs — the kind of backs who can beat a blitz. The Raiders are going to need to connect on these counterpunches to get some of the heat off of Schaub.
That said, there are many ways to beat pressure, and the Raiders showed a few of them on Friday night. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr, for his part, showed he could buy some time with his feet and deliver with accuracy on the run when he rolled right and connected with James Jones for 16 yards on his first drive. Now that was interesting, one to file away.
This was a good audition for Oakland, to draw a defense with this sort of pass rush with the regular season drawing ever closer.