Despite having their best defensive lineman committed to a preseason holdout, the Oakland Raiders showed their capabilities of getting to the quarterback Friday night.
In a 13-6 victory over the visiting Packers, Oakland’s defense proved dominant as five different players registered sacks on Green Bay quarterbacks showcasing their ability to create, and capitalize on backfield pressure even without Khalil Mack’s presence.
The night’s leading sack-getter was second-year defensive end Fadol Brown, who registered 1.5 sacks on the evening. His first came in the beginning of the second quarter as both he and Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst combined for a sack on backup quarterback Brett Hundley.
Brown’s second sack came just 10 minutes later as the Mississippi product was able to bring down Hundley again with less than one minute remaining in the first half. This time, though, it came as a solo tackle on second down while the Packers were deep in their own territory.
In the second half, the Raiders were able to put three more sacks on the boards as outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun, inside linebacker Nicholas Morrow and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester all got to Packers third-stringer DeShone Kizer.
Hester’s sack proved to be the most essential as the second-year tackle stopped Kizer on fourth down with 1:54 remaining in the game. Green Bay was forced to go for it on 4th and 10 after the Raiders running back Chris Warren scored the game’s winning touchdown on the previous drive to put Oakland ahead, 13-6.
Hester nearly registered a second sack on the night but a face mask penalty assessed against Oakland nullified the play. Hester’s stat line also consisted of three additional tackles, making him the third-most tackle-getter of the night.
Oakland’s successful pass rush comes as an encouraging sight considering the fact that Mack, the Raiders former first round pick and Defensive Player of the Year, continues to hold out of the preseason.
E.J. Manuel made a case to jump ahead of Connor Cook on the quarterback depth chart after a competent performance Friday night.
Manuel was able to complete eight of his 12 passes (75 percent) for 87 yards. This included going four-for-five on the game-winning drive, which was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Warren.
On the other side of things, Cook had quite the forgettable night after replacing starting quarterback Derek Carr, who was two-for-three for 68 yards.
Cook was only able to complete 40 percent of his passes (6-for-15) and threw one interception compared to Manuel who threw no picks.
According to the Raiders depth chart, Cook currently sits above Manuel for the No. 2 quarterback job. If Friday’s results have any bearing on that positioning, things could change by next week.