Welcome back as we kick off the Ballers & Busters 2022 season. There was a lot of good and a little less good in the Raiders’ lopsided victory over the second and third teams of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.
Preseason football is all about making an impression with the bearings the boys hope to bring on the pitch during the retreat.
Here are some guys who did it.
G Lester Cotton Sr
I was skeptical of Cotton this off season because he was coming in as a right guard for the injured Denzelle Good. After all, Cotton appeared in just five games of his career and spent much of his career relegated on the training team. He just looked like a placeholder until Good returned from injury.
Then Good retired, Cotton stayed, and then he came out in this game and made me believe. Cotton placed a key block on the second play of the match, helping to sprint Josh Jacobs for 12 yards. He put the Raiders in the field goal range and they went up 3-0 to start the game.
Cotton followed him with blocks on a Jacobs run of nine yards, a Jacobs run of four yards on the third and one and a run of Zamir White of 15 yards, leading to another field goal.
The last play of the first quarter, Cotton got the downfield to block on an 18-yard screen to Ameer Abdullah. That push would eventually lead to the Raiders game’s first touchdown. On the next drive, he would land on a screen that ran for 19 yards. Good days work for Cotton.
RB Zamir White
Josh Jacobs got the first two drives of the game and played well. Then White walked in and showed why he’s a serious contender to eat in Jacobs’ shots and offer some juice on the offense this season.
In White’s first phase of play, he showed a nice burst and took off for 15 yards. He later showed him his skills as a catcher when he took a pass on the screen for 19 yards. The next drive showed him the power of him when he took a left throw to the third and one and drove through a defender to pick up the first down. The white also showed he could face when he stopped on a return kick.
DT Kendal Vickers, ED Malcolm Koonce
Vickers made the first tackle of the game, filling a run. He also had the only firing from the Raiders in the game.
Koonce helped prepare him by receiving pressure to crash the pocket. While Koonce may not have gotten a layoff, he has had good pressure on him at times. He also hit a pass on the line.
QB Jarrett Stidham, WR Demarcus Robinson
His first pass of the game, miraculously, was completed 31 yards downstream from Keelan Cole. This despite the fact that he was hit while throwing.
After Nick Mullens came in for a couple of drives, Stidham returned at the end of the second quarter, completing a 14-yard pass to Tyron Johnson in the third and 11 and a 16-yard pass to Demarcus Robinson. The next play, he went right, led the traffic – getting a block in the end zone from Robinson – and executed it for the touchdown to give the Raiders a 20-0 lead at half.
S Tyree Gillespie
Second-year reserve safety put wood on some plays, including one where he put his helmet on the ball to drop it out of the catcher’s hands to force a fumble. She was the only takeaway in the game for the Raiders.
CB Bryce Cosby
The best non-drafted rookie shot to make this team is through his work in special teams. His first play in this match was the tackle on a return kick. Then in the third quarter, he was in three straight plays: he came to help in a one-yard run, tackled a short hold and broke a pass on the third down to force a punt.
T Brandon Parker
It is a miracle that the Raiders attack was able to do anything in this match with Parker on the left tackle. Saying he was out of reach of him doesn’t quite cover it up. He was just working on almost every play he was in the game.
On the first play, he gave up on Stidham as he pitched. However, the ball was completed with a penalty shot on the penalty of the passer-by. If not, Parker missed his block a couple of plays after a field game could have resulted in a punt instead of a basket.
The second unit was blocked thanks to just Parker and Parker. They had moved to the Jacksonville 22-yard line. Then Parker gave up on consecutive layoffs, the second to his former teammate Arden Key who may recall smashing him on the rookie pitch in 2018. The result was that Daniel Carlson had to attempt a 55-yard field goal which he converted. .
The second quarter would start just like the first quarter, with Parker being beaten, this time for a run. And finally, in his last play at the end of the next drive, Parker would have given up yet another layoff; the third game of him.
This is the guy who is supposedly the candidate currently in the lead to start with the right contrast. He was playing out of position on the left tackle, but he hopes it would at least be useful on the opposite side, not a saloon door.
Kenyan RB Drake
It is increasingly evident that the Raiders intend to continue with the running back by committee. And in that battle, Drake didn’t show up well for himself. While Josh Jacobs and Zamir White averaged over five yards per carry and Ameer Abdullah performed well in onscreen play, Drake averaged just 1.8 yards per carry over five carries.