Oakland Raiders preview: Raiders head to Dallas for preseason clash with Cowboys

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) talks with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) after an NFL preseason football game in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

OAKLAND — The Raiders travel to Dallas for their final preseason game this week when they take on the Cowboys on Saturday, Aug. 26 at 5:00 p.m. PT at AT&T Stadium. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2013, when both teams met each other in the preseason and on Thanksgiving Day in the regular season.

Both teams will meet each other again this season when Dallas comes to Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on Dec. 17 on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which will be one of the NFL’s most watched games in 2017.

Last week, the Raiders lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams 24-21 in Oakland’s first home game this preseason.

Quarterback Derek Carr completed 7-of-9 passes for 100 yards, two touchdowns and one interception while posting a quarterback rating of 113.0 in his first action in the 2017 preseason. The game also marked the first time that Carr played at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum in an NFL game since breaking his leg on Christmas Eve against the Indianapolis Colts.

Carr looked good and showed no lingering affects from the season-ending injury that derailed the 2016 season for the Silver and Black, a season that saw Oakland finish 12-4 and reach the postseason for the first time since 2002.

Carr found wide receiver Michael Crabtree for a dazzling 13-yard touchdown pass where Crabtree shook the defender out of his cleats, and backup tight end Lee Smith hauled in a 19-yard touchdown down the middle of the field from Carr for the quarterback’s first touchdowns in the 2017 season.

Raiders running back and Oakland native Marshawn Lynch finished with 10 yards on two carries. Lynch made his home debut in front of Raider Nation and got the crowd on its feet with a “Beast Mode” like run for five yards on his first carry.

Defensively, Khalil Mack appeared to be in regular season form after recording four tackles (three solo) and a sack in his first action in the preseason, but Oakland’s defense overall still have some holes to fill, most notably at middle linebacker and in the secondary.

But the big story heading into Saturday night’s game in Dallas for Oakland is the return of the their left tackle Donald Penn to the team. Penn was seen on the practice field in Alameda on Wednesday after ending his 26-day holdout in search of a new contract.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area Raiders Insider Scott Bair, the two-time Pro Bowler ended his holdout and re-joined the club on “faith” and “believing the Raiders will work out a higher pay rate” once he returned.

To make room on the active roster for Penn, Oakland waived defensive end Jimmy Bean.

Penn allowed just one sack and 28 total quarterback pressures in 2016, ranking No. 6 among all NFL tackles according to Pro Football Focus. The 11-year veteran is in the final year of a two-year, $11.9 million contract and wanted money that would put him in the top-10 among highest paid left tackles in the game.

Penn is scheduled to make $5.8 million this season, which is pittance compared to other elite left tackles.

Typically in the third week of the preseason, teams will play their starters well into the second half hoping to build more chemistry as the regular season approaches and with Penn missing most of training camp, you’d expect to see him in the lineup Saturday with Carr and the rest of the first-team offense to play catch-up.

Dallas defeated Indianapolis 24-19 last week at AT&T Stadium.

Cowboys starting quarterback Dak Prescott completed 7-of-8 passes for 106 yards, with a 32-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver Dez Bryant down the left side line on the game’s opening drive. Bryant finished with two catches for 55 yards in one-half of action.

Star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who hasn’t played in the entire preseason for the Cowboys, is expected to get reps against Oakland according to Dallas head coach Jason Garrett via ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter Todd Archer.

Elliot, the NFL’s rushing leader with 1,631 yards to go along with 15 touchdowns and a Pro Bowl nod as a rookie, was recently suspended by the NFL for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following and has repealed the decision. The hearing is set for Tuesday, Aug. 29.

“I think the biggest thing is just having the mindset of preparing him for Week 1 of the season, and that’s the approach that we’ve taken,” Garrett said via Archer. “He’s got a number of more reps in training camp than he did last year. If you remember, he had the hamstring injury last year and ended up playing in the second-to-last preseason game and got eight, 10, 12 snaps in that ballgame, so that’s the approach that we’ve taken with him, and anything beyond that we’ll take as it comes.”

Both teams will have short turnarounds after Saturday night’s contest, with the Raiders set to play the Seattle Seahawks in Oakland on Thursday, Aug. 31, and the Cowboys traveling to Houston to take on the Texans the same day.

All teams must trim down their rosters from 90- to 53-man by Sept. 2, as mandated by the NFL.





Raiders report: Cowboys offense good but not balanced

by David Zizmor
ALAMEDA–It’s going to be additionally challenging for Oakland on Thursday it’s Thanksgiving day it’s a whole host of issues here with this game if you look at the history of NFL football on Thanksgiving the home team has won on Thanksgiving and those games are held traditionally in Dallas and Detroit. Detroit has a nine game losing streak on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys for the time being have been pretty good at home. The Raiders have a tall order for them, what they do have going for them is the fact that Dallas is the mediocre team.
If you look at the standings Dallas is in the running in the NFC East their a shade behind the Philadelphia Eagles in that race and the Cowboys are certainly in the playoff run but if you pay attention to the NFC East you know that even though Dallas and Philadelphia are tied at 6-5 and Dallas is not a very good team their good their just an up and down squad. Dallas has a good offense but a really bad defense and to be honest their offense while it’s good and has some excellent players, Tony Romo is an excellent quarterback for Dallas and Dez Bryant has been a great wide receiver.
The simple fact remains that this is not a balanced offense the running game is mediocre and they are a very inconsistent team. Part of that is because Romo tends to will them under pressure late in the games we’ve seen that in his playoff performances and we’ve seen that in various games just this season where he’s had trouble in the fourth quarter. The other thing is they don’t have too many big time performers beyond Romo and Bryant. Their looking for supporting players and their just not that good.
The only reason their 6-5 is because their in one of the weakest divisions in all of football and they’ve been able to feast on other teams in their division that are not very good in their own right. The Raiders go into this one as underdogs but Dallas is not very good so the Raiders at least have a chance. This isn’t going to be a super lopsided affair where Dallas just blows them out. The Raiders can make some noise in this one. This Thanksgiving your going to be watching football one way or another so definitely watch this one this will be an interesting one.
The Raiders can do a little damage and hopefully come out and make you enjoy turkey day and not depress you.
David Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk Radio

McGloin, Raiders head to Big D for Thanksgiving Day Showdown

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
OAKLAND — Following a heart-breaking 23-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans Sunday at O.co Coliseum, the 4-7 Raiders travels to Dallas on a short week for a Thanksgiving Day game against the 6-5 Cowboys Thursday. Oakland watched the Titans come from behind twice and score the go-ahead touchdown with 10 seconds left to go in the game.
After starting the game a little shaky (one interception and four batted balls), quarterback Matt McGloin finished the game 19 of 32 for 260 yards passing and one touchdown.
McGloin was on fire in the second half, completing 11 of 15 passes for 155 yards, and went 4 of 4 for 74 yards culminating into a 27-yard touchdown pass to Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece that gave Oakland the lead 19-16 late in the fourth quarter.
Running back Rashad Jennings has been a big boost to the Raiders ground attack since taking over for the oft-injured Darren McFadden.
Jennings surpassed his career high for total yards in a season in the second quarter, finishing with 16 carries for 73 yards and four catches for 49 yards for the game to give him 790 total yards for the season.
Another bright spot from the crushing loss to the Titans was the play of linebacker Nick Roach.
Roach finished the game with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Roach, a free agent signee from the Chicago Bears in the off season, surpassed the 100 tackle mark for the first time in his career, and set a career high with 102 tackles this season.
Oakland may have their hands with a Cowboys team that are coming off a big 24-21 NFC East divisional win in New York against the Giants Sunday.
Dallas (6-5), are lead by quarterback Tony Romo.
Romo engineered a 14-play game-winning drive by converting two critical third down passes in the fourth quarter.  The Cowboys’ quarterback leads the NFL’s fifth ranked offense, placing fourth in touchdown passes (23) and eighth in passing yards (2,915) and will pose a challenge for the Raiders’ 25th ranked passing defense.
For the season, Oakland’s defense has only surrendered four touchdowns in the first quarter.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant is unquestionably Dallas’ biggest deep threat and trusted big-playmaker. Bryant has 61 catches for 835 yards (13.7 yards per catch), and eight touchdowns. Expect Raiders’ cornerback Tracy Porter to follow Bryant for most of the afternoon.
Dallas sports the NFL’s worst defense, ranked 32nd overall, giving up 432 total yards per game this season.