OAKLAND, Calif. — Connor Cook never sensed he was competing last summer.
In the media, Raiders coaches insisted Cook and E.J. Manuel were battling for the No. 2 quarterback job behind Derek Carr. On the field, however, reps dictated otherwise. Cook consistently worked behind Manuel in training camp and never appeared in the regular season.
Today, it not only feels like a competition.
It seems like one Cook is winning.
Carr and most offensive starters played only the first series of Friday night’s exhibition opener. When Cook entered, he demonstrated the composure that he’s shown in training camp and that lacked during a turnover-happy spring, leading two scoring drives in a 16-10 win over the Detroit Lions.
Cook played the remainder of the first half after Carr exited.
He completed 11 of 19 passes for 141 yards and a 7-yard touchdown to wide receiver Ryan Switzer.
“He did some good things,” coach Jon Gruden said at halftime. “There’s still a couple things decisionwise I think he’s got to correct, but he moved the football, he put points on the board, and I liked his two-minute drill at the end of the half.”
Dirt and grass
Eddy Pineiro was a multisurface kicker in his NFL debut.
For another couple of years, the Raiders own the unfortunate label of being the NFL’s only franchise that shares its stadium with an MLB team. That means Pineiro can kick field goals off grass and infield dirt in the same game, something the undrafted rookie did efficiently Friday.
On grass, Pineiro converted a 21-yard try.
On dirt, he concluded the first half with a 48-yard score and added a 45-yarder late in the fourth quarter.
— Running back Marshawn Lynch did Friday what he’s done before every game with the Raiders, sitting during the national anthem. He was the only Raiders player noticed to have demonstrated during the anthem. Lions players linked arms.
— Safety Karl Joseph became the Raiders’ first player to be penalized under a new NFL rule that prohibits lowering the helmet to initiate and make contact. Joseph was found guilty for an open-field hit on Lions running back Ameer Abdullah in the second quarter. The 15-yard penalty directly followed a 2-yard Joseph sack. Abdullah capped the drive with a touchdown.
— Reserve running back Chris Warren was a second-half standout. The undrafted rookie has a legitimate shot at making the 53-man roster. He rumbled Friday to 86 yards on 13 carries. All but 4 of those yards occurred after halftime.
— Carr was 2-for-4 with 11 yards. On his two misses, he wasn’t able to connect with wide receiver Martavis Bryant on a deep shot. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson broke up a pass that otherwise may have been intercepted.