And it was the perfect start to life in a new home for Josh McDaniels, the new Las Vegas Raiders head coach who joined in January after a long, trophy-laden stint with the New England Patriots.
His Raiders beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-11, ruining freshman Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson’s debut game at the helm.
It was a homecoming victory for Jacksonville-born McDaniels, who returned to the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium where he once played for Canton McKinley High School, patrolling the sidelines where he watched his father, Thom McDaniels, coach for nearly twenty years.
“You never know if you’ll get this chance again. I really enjoyed it. It was a good opportunity for all of us, and I think we all enjoyed it.”
In a game without the most starters from either team — Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and star wide receiver Davante Adams sat outside as the Jaguars released a list of 21 players who would not play, including sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence — it was until the more fringe players to step up.
And like many preseason games without the star players, it wasn’t the most polished affair.
#1 overall pick in this year’s draft Travon Walker was called up for a roughing-the-passer penalty against Raider’s backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham on the first-ever play of scrimmage. Walker did, however, show why he was picked first when he picked up a bag later in the match.
However, there were opportunities for players to flash, as rookie running back Zamir White showed, who rushed 52 yards and added 23 more through the air.
And it was the Raiders’ hasty attack that really ripped through the Jaguars’ defenses, finishing the game with a total of 159 yards rushing and three hasty touchdowns; each of Stidham, Austin Walter and Ameer Abdullah.
Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson was also perfect from the field, scoring two field goals and three extra points.
Jaguar’s running back Nathan Cottrell scored his team’s lone touchdown of the night, catching a pass from Kyle Sloter in the end zone.
After the game, Pederson praised his team’s commitment, which missed many of its starters.
He added: “We made sure everyone played in this match. As we progress it will be a little more the starters and guys that we think will be on the 53 (players).”