Breaking down the Raiders vs. Cowboys

Random thoughts from Oakland’s 17-9 win over Dallas on Thursday:

The good: The defensive line looks pretty nice. Second-round draft pick Lamarr Houston had two sacks as he played well into the second quarter. Oakland had five sacks in the first half. Yes, it wasn’t all against the first unit, but it’s a nice start. Oakland played well against the run as well, which was a big goal. Dallas had just 66 yards on 22 carries. If this carries over into the regular season, the Raiders will be in good shape. The start by Houston is particularly exciting for Oakland. He could be a big-league steal.

The Raiders’ scrubs are better than Dallas’ scrubs. Oakland scored all of its points in the final 4:58 of the game.

After Michael Bush was OK with the first team, Michael Bennett ran well late in the game and finished with 68 yards. Perhaps he can help the team in the regular season in certain situations.

The bad: The offense. So far, new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who has received a hero’s welcome from the team and fans, has not shown much of a difference yet. Here’s what is a bit concerning: Oakland’s starters played the first half, which is nearly unheard of. Usually starters play just a series or two in the first preseason game.

But Oakland’s staff let the new offense, led by new quarterback Jason Campbell, stay on the field to find a groove. It never really happened. Oakland had just one first down in three series in the first quarter and finished with five first downs in the first half. Oakland was just 2-of-12 on third downs.

Campbell looked shaky at times. He’s clearly not totally comfortable yet and that’s understandable. The first-team offensive line, the team’s biggest question mark, looked overwhelmed at times. It is a bit a bummer that Darrius Heyward-Bey couldn’t come up with a catch. He dropped Campbell’s first pass of the game. The Raiders have been talking him up like he’s Michael Crabtree or something. It’d be nice to see it in a game.

Overall, there was plenty to be excited about and plenty to be concerned about. But that’s what first preseason games are for.