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2022 Hall of Fame Game: What We Learned from Raiders' win over Jaguars 

  1. Last year, it was Micah Parsons. This year, it's Travon Walker. I'm not saying Walker is going to do what Parsons did in 2021 -- impress in limited snaps in the Hall of Fame Game, then go on to win the AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year -- but the No. 1 overall pick certainly looked the part from the very first snap. Sure, he drew a flag for roughing the passer, but he thrived in one-on-one situations off the edge -- so much that Las Vegas started sending pass-blocking help on its second possession. He even recorded a sack by winning the edge rush, then cutting off an interior escape lane before his night was finished. Walker's size is visible from the press level and it's not just for show. He and Josh Allen will be fun to watch in Jacksonville.
  2. The Josh McDaniels era began with an interesting approach. Top running back Josh Jacobs received seven touches on 11 snaps, but what was more shocking was how McDaniels chose to utilize Jacobs in a game that doesn't count toward Las Vegas' final record. The Raiders pounded it on the ground with Jacobs and called a first-down screen pass to him, exposing him to the type of contact a usual starter avoids by staying on the sideline. Instead, Jacobs was on track to hit a full game's worth of touches early before promptly exiting. Las Vegas ended up rolling out a solid portion of its starters -- four of five starting offensive linemen, Jacobs, Keelan Cole as one of the its top four receivers in a regular-season setting, and tight end No. 2 Foster Moreau -- and gained an advantage in production. McDaniels also got a good look at some of his better players. Naturally, the Twitterers made much hullabaloo about this approach (primarily centered around Jacobs) online, but our own Gregg Rosenthal accurately assessed the situation: "Josh McDaniels comes from the Bill Belichick school of wacky preseason rotations that people will read too much into."
  3. The Patriot Way has found a foothold in Las Vegas. One doesn't need a magnifying glass to find the former Patriots now on the Raiders' roster, and a couple of them (Duron Harmon, Jacob Hollister) made plays Thursday night. More importantly, though, was the way these new Raiders carried themselves with McDaniels calling the shots. Las Vegas made some mental mistakes typical of a first preseason game (running a defender onto the field extremely late, illegal formation penalty in second quarter), but overall, the Raiders looked sharp. They moved with a bit of tempo throughout the game, rarely snapping the ball with less than 10 seconds left on the play clock, and largely executed as expected. Mix this in with their top stars, and you might have a sleeping monster in a division that will require one to keep up with its rivals.
  4. There wasn't much to write home about the Jaguars, but that wasn't a complete surprise. Jacksonville took a more traditional approach to its first preseason game, sitting a number of key players and watching its performance suffer accordingly. The talent discrepancy caused by playing primarily backups was visible, and third-string quarterback Jake Luton didn't do much to help his cause, connecting on passes underneath but air-mailing a handful of attempts farther downfield. The good news: Logan Cooke punted quite well, Mekhi Sargent had a couple of decent runs and Luke Farrell caught three of his four targets. Oh, and as we all must remember, it's the preseason.

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