It was just one game, and certainly not an exciting one for Raiders fans.
Oakland’s 10-6 loss to the Vikings in Minnesota Friday night in the team’s exhibition opener mostly showed a whole lot of nothing. The offense was vanilla, the first-team defense looked mostly flat and starting quarterback Matt Schaub threw just enough questionable passes to make Raiders fans worry.
But, there were some bright spots, including the running of backs Latavius Murray and Maurice Jones-Drew and the play of wide receiver Denarius Moore.
Moore came into Friday night’s game needing a good exhibition season to hang onto his roster spot after being slotted No. 3 on the depth chart at his position earlier in the week behind Andre Holmes and James Jones.
Moore had a solid game at wideout Friday night, catching all three passes thrown his way for 28 yards, providing a flicker of encouragement that perhaps he’s determined to take a big step forward this season.
On one pass from rookie quarterback Derek Carr, Moore grabbed the ball – making a nice adjustment to a ball thrown slightly behind him – to gain 16 yards. He made two other nice short catches and turned one into a first down with some extra effort.
No doubt it’s the kind of play Raiders coaches want to see from Moore, who’s sometimes been spectacular in three seasons, but also has disappeared.
One bad sign, however: Most of Moore’s playing time Friday night came long after the starters and second-teamers had taken the night off, meaning he’s still got an uphill climb.
Moore said earlier this week that all he can do is work hard and show what he can do. He learned last year that worrying about what his competition on the roster is doing is pointless.
“I was worrying whether I was going to be able to be that go-to guy, or what I was supposed to do on this down or that down,” Moore told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “If I dropped the last pass, I’d think, ‘Are they going to come back to me? Do they have faith in me?’ I should have just let it go and go on to the next play.”
On his first game opportunity, at least, Moore showed some nice adjustments, hands and a desire to make plays.
It’s at least a good start for No. 17.