On the down side, the Oakland Raiders lost an exhibition game to the Tennessee Titans Saturday night, 27-14.
The upside: It doesn’t mean a darn thing.
The second upside: Once again, the Raiders showed they’re going to have plenty of offensive weapons when the regular season begins on Sept. 11.
Example No. 1 was quarterback Derek Carr who saw his most extensive action of the preseason and made the most of it, hitting 12-of-18 throws for 169 yards and two touchdowns, one to rookie running back DeAndre Washington and another to second-year wideout Amari Cooper.
Example No. 2 was the 1-2 punch of rookie running backs Washington and Jalen Richard, who have been impressive all summer. With No. 1 back Latavius Murray getting just two carries Saturday, the bulk of the work on the ground went to Washington (eight carries, 55 yards with a long of 31) and Richard, the undrafted free agent from Southern Mississippi (seven carries, 35 yards) who was labeled “spectacular” recently by offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
Richard missed the first two exhibition games with an injury, but came back fit in practice this week and lived up to his billing against the Titans. Richard has impressed everyone in the organization with his quickness and drive, and it was easy to see why Saturday night. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry and, as Jimmy Durkin of the Bay Area News Group tweeted, “Has a real nice quick first step. Hits the hole fast.”
Washington, meanwhile, was dangerous not only as a ballcarrier, but as a receiver, too, catching three balls, including one for a 6-yard touchdown play in the first quarter that gave Oakland a 7-7 tie.
Example No. 3 is the group of receivers vying to make the roster and provide help to Cooper, Crabtree, Seth Roberts, Andre Holmes and tight ends Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera. Rookies Johnny Holton (three catches, 54 yards) and K.J. Brent (two for 31) made some strong statements. Young running back George Atkinson III – who had a big first exhibition game – also showed he can be dangerous as a receiver, with three catches for 40 yards.
With first roster cuts approaching, the Raiders will face some tough choices. But the good news for Oakland fans is, the offense should have much more depth and versatility in 2016, thanks to some new, young talent.