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Raiders waiting for 1st-team offense to click

By
From page B2 | August 24, 2014 |

ALAMEDA — The Oakland Raiders might need to wait until the start of the regular season for the passing game to hit its stride.

Quarterback Matt Schaub and the first-team offense faltered once again in the final full dress rehearsal for the season, struggling to move the ball with any consistency in a 31-21 exhibition loss to Green Bay on Friday night.

Coach Dennis Allen said Saturday he does not know how much his starters will play in Thursday’s exhibition finale against Seattle. But typically the first team gets little more than a cameo in the fourth preseason game.

Allen said he is confident the problems can be fixed before the season opener at the New York Jets on Sept. 7.

“We’ve got to own up to our own responsibilities and be able to handle our area and make sure we make corrections in the areas that we need to,” Allen said.

The Raiders started strong on offense when Maurice Jones-Drew scored on a 40-yard run on the opening possession. Oakland then went three-and-out the next three possessions and did not score on the final eight possessions with Schaub at quarterback.

Schaub has led the Raiders to just two scores in 15 drives this preseason. He’s failed so far to show that last year’s rough season in Houston was an aberration.

Schaub has completed just 51 percent of his passes this preseason and is averaging only 4.6 yards per attempt as he struggles to get the ball downfield. Schaub has completed just 2 of 13 pass attempts more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage in three games, but Allen said he has no concerns about Schaub’s arm strength.

Allen said the problems in the passing game are across the board and it’s difficult to isolate on one part that needs to be fixed.

“That’s obviously an area that we’ve got to work to improve on and that will be a main focus of what we do over the next couple weeks,” Allen said. “We’ll get better at that.”

Rookie Derek Carr, who moved the team well last week against Detroit, sat out as a precaution as he recovers from a concussion and sore ribs. Carr is expected to get significant playing time against Seattle.

Oakland’s first-team defense fared slightly better against Aaron Rodgers and Packers starters than it did the first two games against Matt Cassel and Matthew Stafford.

After allowing a touchdown on the first drive, Oakland forced three successive punts before Rodgers led two more TD drives. In all, the Raiders have allowed six touchdowns on 10 drives against starting quarterbacks.

The defense also lost three potential starters to injuries. The scariest came to linebacker Sio Moore, who was taken off the field on a stretcher and briefly hospitalized with a neck injury in the second quarter. Moore was able to fly back with the team Friday and was diagnosed with a stained neck.

“The good news with Sio is that we ruled out any real serious injury,” Allen said. “So, we’ll take that day by day and see how he responds.”

Starting cornerback Tarell Brown and middle linebacker Nick Roach also left the game with concussions and must pass league protocols before they play again.

Oakland is already without last year’s first-round pick, cornerback DJ Hayden, recovering from offseason surgery on a stress fracture in his right foot. Hayden has not practiced since May and might need to open the season on the physically unable to perform list. That would mean he would miss at least the first six weeks of the season.

Backup running back Kory Sheets tore his Achilles tendon in the game and will miss the season. Sheets was competing with Latavius Murray to be the No. 3 running back and kick returner.

Right tackle Menelik Watson left the game with a hip injury and should be healthy for the start of the season.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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