August 8, 2022

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    AP Photo / David Dermer

    The first NFL pre-season game was completed. After a break full of dramatic trades and developments, taking on new football was looking very good. The Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-11 in the 2022 NFL Hall of Fame game Thursday.

    The biggest names on each team sat down for this match to avoid injury. We’ll keep waiting to see if the Jaguar builders Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and Christian Kirk can advance the chemistry. We also missed seeing the renewed connection between Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and receiver Davante Adams.

    That’s not to say we haven’t learned anything about both Raiders and Jaguars. We found five main meals from the Hall of Fame.

    With both teams breaking into new coaching staff in their first competitive act of the season, every bit of information on how this season has unfolded is helpful. Let’s jump into our best takeaway.

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    AP Photo / David Dermer

    He only played the first two installments of the game, but Travon Walker’s #1 selection made his presence felt. Walker bullied the Raiders back up left for Brandon Parker during his shots, scoring his first sack and putting pressure on Garrett Stidham several times. He was called in to have a rough discussion on passers-by on his first play after swiping through Parker’s chest to get into the pocket.

    The Jaguar family knew they were getting a sporty lane that could win with excellent power when they crafted it. However, it was to be expected that Walker would need time to learn the use of his hand and the nuances of the role given that he was primarily tasked with stopping the running in Georgia. Against the invaders, Walker showed that his growth curve might not be too great.

    The Jaguars also saw strong performances from Arden Key and K’Lavon Chaisson, while daredevil star Josh Allen didn’t play. Alternating the four sporting defenders can quickly change the identity of this defense. Walker will be a huge part of that effort if this first game hints at what’s to come.

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    Nick Cammett / Getty Images

    While most beginners sat in this game for both teams, the Raiders chose to play all their backs even though the field was wet. This included the top two backs on their depth chart: Josh Jacobs and Kenny Drake. This probably isn’t bad news for their placement on the list, but it’s definitely not good news that either of them would be safe in their role.

    Jacobs was fueled by five suspenders and two balls for 44 yards despite being a proven talent in his fourth season. He is also in a year contract. Most starting backs don’t play in pre-season until the third game, if at all, because of the risk of injury.

    Drake is also in a contract year and has played enough shots to scratch your head about his future. He logged five buses for nine yards before leaving the field with a hand injury. He’s back later in the game. With Brandon Bolden also on the roster as an extra, Drake’s role could be in jeopardy.

    Coach Josh McDaniels has shown he’s not afraid of losing his best backs.

    Backup Zamir White and Amir Abdullah looked excellent in their touches. White raised 52 yards and 23 yards. Abdullah only ran for seven yards in two attempts but had 23 yards on two attempts.

    This could be a situation to watch as the last reduction day arrives before the start of the regular season.

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    AP Photo / David Dermer

    The first half of Jacksonville’s attack was a frightening recall of what the team looked like under Urban Mayer last year. Of course, Jaguars captured the majority of starters to avoid injury. But the lack of rhythm and flow of unity in a team led by veteran coach Doug Pederson was surprising nonetheless.

    The Jaguars only had two fully padded exercises to get into the game. This was definitely a factor to some extent. However, their decision to make backups of Jake Luton and Kyle Sloter also has to be called into question because their level of play has been poor all night.

    Backup primary CJ Beathard also isn’t the answer to competing in games if Lawrence goes down. If Lawrence suffers a major injury, the Jaguars have shown nothing during the Hall of Fame game so we think they have a fighting chance to compete on a weekly basis.

    That’s a hard pill to swallow for a team that spent $175.3 million on warranties this off-season. Pederson has to convey how important it is for this young team brimming with fresh pieces to disintegrate before the regular season. If he doesn’t, the Jaguars could be off to a rough start to the year until they find a foothold.

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    Nick Cammett / Getty Images

    Having a quality reserve quarterback can be the difference between winning another game and making the playoffs or missing out on the post-season. The Raiders traded the sixth-round pick for Garrett Stidham shortly after McDaniels took over as head coach. The two have previously worked together in New England since Stedham was drafted in the fourth round in 2019.

    Stedham showed some hope as a well-armed sporting passer-by in his few chances. He continued to build positive momentum in this game, completing eight of 15 passes for 96 yards. He also ran for a 12-yard touchdown.

    Nick Mullins played well behind Stidham and produced a higher completion percentage. But Stedham also lost a potential deep landing when receiver Tyrone Johnson dropped a perfectly placed ball that fell into his hands.

    After this performance, the Conquerors can be more confident in their ability to win a match if Derek Carr has to leave the competition early or miss a week for whatever reason.

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    AP Photo / Ellen Schmidt

    After using offseason to add stars like Davante Adams and Chandler Jones, the Raiders’ depth in several locations was still worth questioning. Who would be the second external recipient after Adams is a concern. Their back corner room lacks a pronounced circulation.

    We were able to see both the reception and corner positions perform well against the Jaguars. The recipients are expected to compete for the No. 2 overseas job, Keelan Cole, Mac Hollins, Tyrone Johnson and DeMarcus Robinson. Hollins, Johnson and Cole started while Robinson played in the second half. Johnson stuck with his deep speed and ability to open up. It was just one drop from the perfect show.

    Cole left the match after being hit in the head at the end of the match. However, the Conquerors should feel better about their ability to complete their passing game after seeing Cole (holding one, 31 yards) and Johnson (2 catching, 39 yards) playing well.

    The most notable full-back who made the most of his chance was veteran Darius Phillips. With four interventions, Phillips demonstrated great discipline and toughness in the game of running. He was also forced into a confusion that led to a change of possession. This is the kind of timely plays that Raiders’ defense needs to survive in the West Asian region.

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