The Oakland Raiders are optimistic despite their preseason-opening, 10-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Aug. 8.
"I'll start off by saying that when you go back and you watch the tape, there are a lot of positives to gain from that game last night. I thought you could really see some things that we were able to do, and the run game, I think we're going to be able to have an effective run game. Overall, I thought we were pretty solid in protection.
"I still believe that's a much-improved area on our football team. The defense, we were able to get some pressure on the quarterback, which was really a positive. I think that's something that, as we move forward, that we can build on and gain from. The biggest thing in the game, and you go back and look at it and say, the penalties were the biggest thing that we had to deal with.
"A couple of those are this year's points of emphasis with the NFL and with the officials with defensive holding or illegal contact down the field. That's an area we have to get cleand up. Illegal hands to the face is another area that they're emphasizing. We had basically two of those. Brian Leonhardt was called for a facemask. That was one of those where you had two guys battling and his hand kind of slips off and grabs a guy's facemask.
"That's something that I don't know that in the past you would have seen some of those things called, but with the rules and points of emphasis, we're going to see those things. So, it was good for us to get out, play a preseason game, see how the officials are going to call those things. We'll get an opportunity to clean some of those things up before we go out and play the next game.'"
SFGate.com's Vic Tafur also thought the Raiders' running back corps performed well in the loss to the Vikings:
"Raiders coach Dennis Allen did not throw his hands up and call off the season Saturday, a day after a sloppy 10-6 loss in Minnesota in the preseason opener. Oakland will return to practice. It will try to improve.
"After watching game film of his first-team offense and defense struggling, along with a handful of dropped penalties and 13 penalties, Allen downplayed the negative and accentuated the positive.
"'We obviously need to play better and we need to be more consistent,' Allen said in a conference call. 'But I thought there were some things we can build on.'
"The Raiders plan to be a run-heavy team, and Maurice Jones-Drew (four touches for 24 yards), Darren McFadden (23-yard run) and Latavius Murray (seven carries for 28 yards) all looked good.
"'I think we're going to be able to have an effective run game,' Allen said. 'You saw some good things up front with the offensive line being able to move people off the ball.'
"Quarterback Matt Schaub almost threw an interception and lacked some zip on a couple of passes, finishing 3-of-7 for 21 yards. But Allen said that tight end Mychal Rivera should have caught two of those passes and that he was 'not displeased' with Schaub's performance.
"'We had a miscommunication on the first third down of the game when he was trying to get the ball to Andre Holmes,' Allen said. 'Those are some of the things that show up in the first preseason game...We get a chance to correct, coach it up, and hopefully we'll be able to improve on that.'
"Allen said there are no plans to give rookie quarterback Derek Carr time with the first-team offense in the preseason.
"Defensively, the Raiders made Matt Cassel look like Nick Foles on the first possession of the game, as he completed 5 of 6 passes for 62 yards on a touchdown drive. And then took the rest of the night off.
"Cassel completed three passes against starting cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, but Allen said they weren't as easy as they looked.
"'A couple of those throws to Cordarrelle Patterson, there's some tight-window throws and contested catches,' Allen said. 'And that's what you want to see because I feel like if you continue to contest those plays, you're going to get your fair share of them.'"
The Raiders will next take on the Detroit Lions at home on Aug. 15 for their next preseason game.