MINNEAPOLIS — Matt Schaub has impressed his new coaches and teammates with the Oakland Raiders with his sharp performance during training camp practices as he looks to turn the page from a disastrous finish to his career in Houston.
His first game action in the silver and black was nowhere near as promising.
Schaub was just 3 for 7 for 21 yards and the Raiders went three-and-out in all three of his series in a 10-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason opener on Friday night.
“We’re not on the practice field anymore. The lights are on. We need to go out and play,” Schaub said. “We’re facing someone else. It was the first opportunity for us to form our identity for the season. We went out and we didn’t play near to expectations or our standard and we need to go back and figure out how to play that way next week.”
Schaub played into the second quarter, which is rare for a starting quarterback in the first game of the preseason. But the sloppy performance by the starting offense demanded it.
Things got off to an ominous start when right tackle Menelik Watson was flagged for a false start on the first play of the game. The Raiders committed a penalty on each of the three drives Schaub participated in, including a holding call on left tackle Donald Penn that negated a 16-yard completion to Andre Holmes that would have moved the chains.
“I’m disappointed in the way that we played,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “I thought we’d come out and be sharper than that and execute better than that. The penalties really were the big story of the game.”
The Raiders committed 13 penalties for 94 yards the game, Oakland receivers dropped several passes and there was a mistake on a route that submarined a third-down play on the opening drive of the game. It’s not the way Schaub wanted to get started in his new uniform after seven mostly productive seasons with the Texans ended with a nightmare of a season in 2013. He’s hoping to provide some stability at quarterback after Raiders fans have watched 17 different players start a regular season game since their last Super Bowl appearance in 2002.
“I thought he was put in some tough situations,” Allen said of Schaub. “We had a mistake on the first third down of the game which turned out to be an incompletion. We’ve got to execute better and put ourselves in more manageable situations. … I thought overall the execution wasn’t good enough.”
Second-round pick Derek Carr wasn’t much better in his NFL debut, either. He was 10 for 16 for 74 yards, but his high throw went through Jamize Olawale’s hands and was intercepted by Kurt Coleman.
“I’ve got a lot of things to work on, but it was nice to finally get out and play an NFL game,” Carr said. “It was a dream come true and it was everything I thought it would be as a kid growing up.”
Darren McFadden had a 23-yard run, the only highlight by a Raiders starter. Third-string quarterback Matt McGloin was 11 for 18 for 90 yards and had a late 10-yard touchdown scramble.
“There’s some positives there we can take and continue to work with, but obviously we’ve got a long, long way to go as a football team to be the type of team that we want to be,” Allen said.
Matt Cassel went 5 for 6 for 62 yards on his only series of the game for the Vikings, an impressive touchdown march on their first drive of the game. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater was more up and down, going 6 of 13 for 49 yards for the Vikings, who are playing the next two seasons at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor TCF Bank Stadium while they await their new stadium to be built.
Both teams escaped without significant injuries, which is always the primary goal of these preseason contests. Raiders backup defensive tackle Justin Ellis walked slowly off the field with a head injury.
“It’s a starting point and obviously there’s things we definitely want to clean up and get better at and we’re going to go do that,” Schaub said. “What we did tonight, hurting ourselves, doesn’t diminish what we’ve done and put into training camp so far. We’re just going to get back and go back to work.”