Jets head west to face Raiders
OAKLAND » Derek Carr got a taste in the preseason of what the atmosphere will be like in the Oakland Coliseum when Marshawn Lynch carries the ball for the first time in a game that counts in front of his hometown fans.
He can only imagine what it will be like on Sunday the first time Beast Mode carries the ball or scores a touchdown for the Raiders (1- 0) in their home opener against the New York Jets (0-1).
“Loud. Hopefully we’ll be able to be excited and then get quiet again real quick for the offense,” Carr said. “I love our fans and I’m happy that they have someone that’s homegrown that gets to play in front of them.”
Lynch came out of retirement this offseason for the opportunity to play for the Raiders before the team moves to Las Vegas in 2020. Oakland acquired him in a deal from Seattle, but didn’t quite know what to expect on the field from Lynch after he struggled in an injury-plagued 2015 season and then sat out last year entirely.
Based on the first game of the season when Lynch had 18 carries for 76 yards , caught a 16-yard pass and bowled over Pro Bowl 305-pound defensive tackle Jurrell Casey , he looks like his old self once again.
“I don’t know too many people who can do that,” Raiders running back Jalen Richard said. “For him to do that is crazy. It lets you know how strong he is and his grit. It shows he’s still Marshawn and well rested. Well rested.”
That’s exactly what Jets coach Todd Bowles doesn’t want to see after his defense gave up 190 yards in the opener against Buffalo. Bowles is very familiar with Lynch, having served as a defensive coordinator in Arizona during Beast Mode’s heyday in Seattle, and sees similar qualities now that Lynch is with the Raiders.
“Unfortunately, the same things I saw in Arizona: him running well, him running hard, great feet, good vision,” Bowles said. “Like he never left.”
Here are some other things to watch:
LEAKY LINE: The Jets’ defensive line is expected to be a strength this season. It got off to a rough start last week against LeSean McCoy and Buffalo . The poor performance prompted Bowles to challenge his D-line to play up to its high criteria against Oakland. That includes Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams and Steve McLendon, all of whom were mostly quiet against the Bills.
“We didn’t play up to our standards last week, but that’s behind us,” Wilkerson said. “We’re not going to dwell on that.”
MACK ATTACK: Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack made a big impact in the opener even though he only had three tackles and no sacks. He batted down one pass, made two tackles behind the line and had four QB pressures despite facing double and triple teams all game.
“Three wasn’t enough. Maybe we’ll try five or six,” Bowles said. “He’s a tough player. He’s All-Pro for a reason. We know how good he is. We just have to try to slow him down a little bit, enough to try and make some plays.”
NOWHERE TO RUN: New York couldn’t get its run game into gear against the Bills, putting a strain on the entire offense. Matt Forte gained 16 yards on six attempts, while Bilal Powell managed 22 yards on seven carries.
“They packed the box some,” Bowles said of the Bills. “They made a few good plays. They were coming off and packing it pretty good, making us come off of double-teams pretty quickly. ... We just have to find a way to open it up and keep plugging at it.”
SAFETY DANCE: One bright spot in the season opener for the Jets was the play of their rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Adams, a firstrounder, had five tackles and a pass defensed. Maye, a second-rounder, had seven tackles. They were the first pair of rookie safeties to start in Week 1 in Jets history. According to the team, they were also the first rookie duo at the position in the starting lineup for any team since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.
GIORGIO’S DAY: Raiders kicker Giorgio Tavecchio took six years to make it into an NFL game. He made the most of his opportunity in place of the injured Sebastian Janikowski. He kicked four field goals, including two from 52 yards to become the first player in NFL history with at least two 50yard field goals in his debut. That earned him an award as the AFC’s top special teams player last week.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws during warm ups before a preseason game.