Raiders winners and losers in Hall of Fame Game vs. Jaguars

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The Raiders’ new regime had its first test in the NFL’s first game of the year, and coach Josh McDaniels’ squad passed with flying colors.

Las Vegas defeated the Jaguars in the Hall of Fame Game, 27-11 on Thursday, with team-wide grit and execution. It was only one preseason game, played without the stars of the Raiders, but everyone wearing silver and black nevertheless played hard and dominated.

Still, some played better than others. Here are this week’s winners and losers, as there are still a few positions up for grabs before the regular season kicks off.

Winner: OL Jermaine Eluemunor

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Offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor came into the game after the front line got off to a good start and he played a part in the Raiders’ first touchdown. He pulled to the right, clearing a path for Ameer Abdullah to run back, who celebrated in style.

Pass protection is vital, of course, but that runblock looked like it came from a starting right tackle. Competition is fierce there, with Alex Leatherwood and Brandon Parker firmly in the hunt, but Eluemunor helped his cause on Thursday.

Winner: DE Malcolm Koonce

The Raiders are also looking for pass rushers to support superstars Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. Defensive ending Malcolm Koonce seems to fit.

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Koonce made several appearances in the backfield of the Jaguars. He hit a pass while forcing Jacksonville’s quarterback to flee, and he was a factor in the Raiders’ only QB sack in the game, along with Kendal Vickers.

It also appeared that Koonce was awarded a holding penalty late in the first half. In Year No. 2, it looks like he could be a factor for Las Vegas this season, especially in defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s versatile schedule.

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs from Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Malcolm Koonce (51) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, January 2, 2022, in Indianapolis. (TBEN Photo/Darron Cummings)

Winner: RB Ameer Abdullah

Running back Ameer Abdullah had a night to remember. He can say he scored the first touchdown of the NFL’s 2022 campaign, and he celebrated it with flair by executing a nice karate-style kick in the end zone.

He also had two receptions on two goals for 23 yards. That should help his case in McDaniels’ fraught backfield. And while Abdullah is already signed up as the starting kick-returner, he had a 13-yard point return in the first half.

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Winner: RB Zamir White

Kirby Lee-US TODAY Sports

Did I mention the Raiders backfield is full? As players fight for roles, rookie Zamir White may have found one.

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White converted on an impressive 4th-and-1 game and delivered a nice hit for the defender. He got the ball at 3rd-and-1 late in the first half and converted it.

White looks like he can handle a close range roll and more. Though he had one drop, he caught three passes for 23 yards. In the run game, he finished with 52 yards on 11 carries. All in all, it was a near-perfect start for the man they call “Zeus.”

Loser: OT Brandon Parker

(Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

I mentioned earlier that the Raiders attack line was having a good day. I would have described their game more positively, but offensive tackle Brandon Parker had a few bad moments.

He was beaten into pass protection the first time the game was played, although it turned out well for the Raiders. Jaguar’s rookie defense end Travon Walker became overexcited after passing Parker and was called up for a rough penalty.

Parker later allowed Walker Raiders to fire quarterback Jarrett Stidham, though Stidham stepped into the sack and went straight to Walker. But a game later, Stidham was fired again, as Parker let ex-Raiders DE Arden Key shove him out of the way.

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Loser: WR Keelan Cole

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Wide receiver Keelan Cole is fighting for a part in the Raiders attack, but he came out of this match worse than he came into it.

Cole got off to a good start, receiving a tipped pass that seemed intended for another receiver. But he had a bad drop in the first half, leaving backup QB Nick Mullens no favors.

He followed up his drop with a nice run on a reverse, but unfortunately he took an awkward blow to the head on what should have been an illegal hit. Cole is still in the mix for a Las Vegas role, but he’s definitely seen better days.

And I have one honorable mention for the winners list, and that’s Coach McDaniels. He took his first win as a Raiders coach in his hometown, playing on the same field he played as QB in high school. In addition, he won his first challenge as a Raiders coach and threw the red flag on a sideline grab by WR Tyron Johnson.

We all know this was just one preseason game. But the Raiders have the look of a team that doesn’t care what the stakes are, as long as there’s a chance to win. That’s a great start for the new Las Vegas regime.

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Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire