Saturday night, the Raiders beat the Seattle Seahawks 20-7 in their preseason opener. The preseason is one of the most important times for many players. During these three games, we’re going to see a lot of players fighting for roster spots. Some of those players shined on Saturday. Lets talk about some key takeaways from the Raiders’ win.
Javin White enters the year as a player fighting for a spot in the linebacker rotation. He showed out in his first preseason game, to say the least.
As backups typically do in the preseason, Javin got a lot of action. On Saturday, he seemed to be everywhere and ended the game with a team-high 5 solo tackles, with 6 combined. He was making big hits all over the field. Perhaps the most impressive thing he showed was the ability to tackle in the open field, something the Raiders’ defense has been unable to do well for a long time now.
As I mentioned earlier, White has been battling for a spot in the linebacker rotation during camp. If he continues to play like this, he should have no problem earning a roster spot.
Alex Leatherwood’s Development Could Be a Work in Progress
There’s no doubt Alex Leatherwood is a talented player. His blocking skills will help the offensive line a ton, and he’s a player I am very excited to watch. With that said, he did struggle a bit against some backup defensive lineman this week.
There was plenty of talk about Leatherwood playing well in training camp, and he had some good moments during the game as well. He showed a lot of promise with both his pass and run blocking.
With that said, Leatherwood did struggle as well. He missed some blocks and made some weak plays against the backup defensive lineman on the Seahawks. While it’s just one game that won’t show up on the record this year, it did show that Leatherwood might be a project for this offense.
The Defense Looks Faster
It is just a preseason game, and most players playing in these games won’t see nearly as much time in the regular season. However, the defense only allowed seven points this week, a stark contrast from the amount they typically allowed last season.
The defense looked faster and more physical across the board. The Raiders made a point to get better upfront, and in particular along the defensive line. That showed Saturday night, and that unit as a whole was getting into the backfield routinely all night. With both Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue out of action, it was encouraging to see the depth players step up.
The back end of the defense was impressive as well. Nate Hobbs made a lot of plays and really excelled. The linebacker corps and the rest of the defensive backs looked solid as well. More importantly, the defense played together – as a team. That kind of speed and effort will work wonders for them this season.
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