Grades for Raiders-Cardinals

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players for the Cardinals-Raiders preseason game.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Grades for Raiders-Cardinals

Here are the top takeaways, and the top 5 grades for each team, from the preseason encounter between the Cardinals and the Raiders:


–Looking to build on a spectacular rookie season as a run defender, LB Khalil Mack (+11.3) laid waste to the Cardinals’ O-line last night in the passing game. On 50 snaps he registered eight pressures (2 sacks, 1 hit, 5 hurries) and forced a fumble on a short-yardage run in a dominant performance.

–While Mack starred on defense, QB Derek Carr (-2.7) and the offense struggled to capitalize on that dominance in the first half. Red-zone struggles were paired with an awful interception after a pump fake on a screen that was returned for a touchdown.

–After a disappointing debut against St. Louis, rookie DE Mario Edwards Jr. (+3.2) has rebounded with consecutive strong showings as a pass-rusher and picked up where Mack left off in the second half. Edwards beat Cardinals’ first-round pick OT D.J. Humphries (-2.4) for a sack and a hurry in the fourth quarter to match his haul from the second quarter against OT Jared Veldheer (-3.2).

Top 5 graded players:

1. LB Khalil Mack (+11.3)

2. DL Denico Autry (+5.5)

3. LB Malcolm Smith (+3.3)

4. LB Mario Edwards Jr. (+3.2)

5. DB T.J. Carrie (+3.1)



–A victim of his offensive line’s poor display, QB Carson Palmer (-4.0) struggled to get anything going in any direction and at any depth last night. Pressured on 15 of his 26 dropbacks, a rare standout moment for Palmer in fact came with his legs early in the second quarter, climbing past another aggressive Raiders’ pass rush to convert a 3rd-and-9 with a 10-yard scramble.

–Untargeted in his first two preseason outings, CB Patrick Peterson (-0.8) surrendered his first catch this August to Amari Cooper (+0.6) late in the second quarter on a 36-yard catch and run to convert a 3rd-and-11. Peterson later helped ensure another frustrating red-zone failure for the Raiders, breaking up a second-down pass to WR Michael Crabtree (-0.8) after Carson Palmer’s second interception.

–The Cardinals’ offensive line has been a problem area for some time, and among their offensive linemen only three players (Ted Larsen, Antoine McClain and Bobby Massie) earned positive overall grades. Jared Veldheer and Bradley Sowell (-11.7) took the brunt of the punishment in the first half ,but D.J. Humphries ensured those problems continued on the edge in the second half, taking his preseason total to six pressures allowed (2 sacks, 3 hits, 1 hurry) in the process.

Top 5 graded players:

1. DL Josh Mauro (+3.1)

2. LB Alex Okafor (+2.9)

3. DL Calais Campbell (+2.3)

4. DB Tyrann Mathieu (+2.2)

5. LB Kevin Minter (+1.9)

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Tito Puente

    Amari would’ve had a MUCH better grade (and Carr’s would’ve been slightly less awful), but Amari dropped a pass thrown right to him because he was staring straight into the sun, he pointed out he couldn’t see the ball, but the Raiders decided it would be a good idea to throw it to him in the exact same spot on the very next play (even Collinsworth explained those catches were impossible). Plus, he absolutely schooled a defender to get wide open in the endzone and Carr floated it 10 ft over his head.

    Amari looked absolutely terrific, by far his best game yet, his ins and and outs, breaks and cuts in short areas looked just as effective as they did at Alabama — just ask Patrick Peterson (the 2nd highest paid CB in the NFL).

    I can’t remember any NFL receiver who started running routes when they were six years old, like Amari… But clearly, practice makes perfect..

    • Johnny Cash Guzman

      I said the same thing you did. They decided to run the exact same play in the exact same spot even though Cooper said he couldn’t see because of the sun.

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