The Oakland Raiders had one of the more entertaining offseasons of any team in the NFL. Thanks to back to back years of purging the team from bad salaries, the Raiders went from break down mode to rebuild mode this year. But after all of the excitement from new signings and a big time draft class, there was a big let down in the first preseason game of the year.
Raiders fans wanted to see the Silver and Black come out and look like a completely different team. A team that was ready to compete come week one and show everyone why they underestimated what general manager Reggie McKenzie had done these past few months. Instead, the team pretty much fell flat on its face in the preseason debut and made many fans question the upcoming season.
There are already people calling for Dennis Allen to bench quarterback Matt Schaub in favor of rookie Derek Carr. There are people talking about Khalil Mack being overrated. There are people talking about Allen needing to be fired. And all of this from the first preseason game.
Let’s not forget history. Last preseason, the Raiders defense looked absolutely horrific. People truly thought it was going to be a train wreck that would get scored on with every touch of the football by the opposing team’s offense. Instead it came out and played extremely well early in the year before becoming plagued with injury. Then there was the year that Art Shell led the Raiders to an undefeated preseason before putting one of the worst Raiders teams in recent years on the field during the regular season.
Dennis Allen has shown that he uses the preseason to get players reps and see how they look but does not give any of his playbook away. No coach does, but Allen takes it to an extreme. So much so that his players often have difficulties finding much success in the preseason as the play calling does not put them in very favorable positions. That, however, is ok for Allen and crew even if fans don’t enjoy watching it. Allen clearly believes that he can get enough information from calling the preseason this way and has always believed in keeping his opponents in the dark about as much as he possible can, from player injuries, to naming starters to revealing the play book.
So while the disappointment from the first preseason game is understandable, it is far too early to worry or start calling for dramatic change. This has been a long path for Raiders fans and after enduring the past two years, they need to be patient for just a few more weeks before truly judging what the 2014 team is going to look like.