Since his hiring, Raiders coach Dennis Allen has preached defense and discipline.
In Monday night’s preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys in Oakland, he at least got the former from his football team.
Allen’s defense held Dallas to a mere field goal, but failed to score in the 3-0 clumsy loss. But as the Raiders find themselves in action after a short week today against the Arizona Cardinals, Allen will be looking for something else.
“Improvement,” he said. “I’m hoping to see that we get better from Week 1 to Week 2. I’ve said that all along and we’ll continue to say that. Our job is to get better every week and get ready and prepare for the opening game of the season so that’s what we’re aiming to do.”
Despite the loss, the Raiders’ defense still limited the Cowboys to 202 offensive yards. And while Allen hopes to bounce back against the winless-in-exhibition-play Cardinals, he foresees some challenges.
“They are going to throw the ball to No. 11. He’s a good player,” Allen said. “Obviously Larry Fitzgerald is an outstanding receiver. So we will have our work cut out for us. I’m not really concerned about what Arizona is going to do. I’m more concerned about us and how we execute.”
Execute was something the Raiders struggled with Monday. Despite rookie receiver Rod Streater’s strong showing, his 66-yard day was overshadowed by his team’s myriad dropped passes and sloppy play. Someone who underachieved Monday was receiver Jacoby Ford, who went catchless along with fumbling the football.
“He didn’t play up to his expectations or our expectations in the game the other day. It’s one football game; it’s not the end of the world,” Allen said.
Quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor also struggled, with each throwing an interception. Palmer’s pick came against a well-defended Ford inside the red zone.
“I don’t think you can ever have your quarterback be scared to take a chance,” Allen said. “He took a chance, didn’t work out, we go on to the next play.”
Palmer, who’s in his first full season as the Raiders’ starting QB, assumed the blame for the turnover.
“The interception was my fault,” Palmer said. “That was not [Ford’s] fault at all. It was completely my fault. The drops, those are part of the game.”
While the team sputtered, veteran running back Darren McFadden appeared strong despite only two carries for 20 yards and one catch for 18.