ad-fullscreen

Raiders rookie Shalom Luani didn’t fall for Titans’ onside trickery

Updated September 10, 2017 - 6:14 pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Many rookies might be caught off-guard when, on the first play of the NFL season, the opposing team tries an onside kick in their direction.

Shalom Luani is not a typical rookie.

The Raiders safety and seventh-round pick successfully fielded an onside kick to begin Sunday’s 26-16 win over the Tennessee Titans, and Luani wasn’t surprised by the trickery. He knew it was coming, he said, having noticed the kicker’s mechanics before striking the ball.

While Luani is on the Raiders’ roster largely for his instincts in the secondary, he boasts a storied soccer background from his time on American Samoa’s national team. In 2011, he scored the game-winning goal for the U.S. territory’s first FIFA-sanctioned win.

Hence, Luani wasn’t fooled.

“His approach to the ball, he didn’t want to kick it,” Luani said of Ryan Succop. “That’s why I stayed back a little bit. He wasn’t going hard to kick the ball. If you’re a kicker, if you go hard, the ball is going (far). I’m a soccer player, so I can know when you’re kicking it hard or not.”

His recovery set up a strong start.

The Raiders assumed possession at the 50-yard line. Quarterback Derek Carr found wide receiver Amari Cooper on a 6-yard pass and tight end Jared Cook on a 22-yard pass with a 14-yard Marshawn Lynch run in between. The drive then culminated with a Cooper touchdown, as the two-time Pro Bowler kept his balance while being dragged toward the ground. He then barrelled through defenders into the end zone.

Having lost the pregame coin toss, the Titans tested a rookie in hopes of claiming the opening possession.

The wrong rookie.

“Just be a player,” Luani said. “Be a football player and go get it.”

Third down refocus

The Raiders had a terrible start Sunday on third down.

Tennessee converted five of six third-down attempts to begin the game. This included three straight in an opening touchdown drive that effectively answered Cooper’s score. The Raiders stopped the Titans on six of their ensuing eight attempts to end the game.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota, mobile in the pocket, is regarded for his accuracy on intermediate-depth throws.

The Raiders were keyed on containing tight end Delanie Walker.

“We know that’s his favorite target,” cornerback Sean Smith said. “When you do that, it allows other guys to get open behind guys. They were able to exploit that early on, but when we came in at halftime, we drew it up and said, ‘Look, this is where the ball is going. This is what he likes to do. Let’s just take that away and believe what we see.’ We made some adjustments, went out there and started playing some good ball.”

Notable

— Safety Karl Joseph stymied a potential touchdown drive with back-to-back plays inside the Raiders’ 10-yard line late in the second quarter. He first popped wide receiver Eric Decker with an open-field tackle off a quick-hit pass. On the next play, second down, he had an acrobatic, jumping breakup in the end zone with Decker the intended target. Mariota was tackled for a 1-yard gain on third down, setting up a field goal with 48 seconds remaining. The Raiders answered with a 52-yard field goal as the first half expired.

— Vadal Alexander rotated for Marshall Newhouse at right tackle on the Raiders’ third offensive series. He and running back Jalen Richard allowed a second-down sack. Alexander then ceded another sack on the next play. Newhouse returned to finish the game.

— Running back Marshawn Lynch seemed surprised when walking into the post-game media interview room, learning he had interrupted coach Jack Del Rio’s press conference. He said an expletive, stepped backward but then re-entered to speak to the Raiders’ media relations director. “I was available for three minutes,” Lynch said. “They didn’t holler at me. I’m good, right?” Indeed, Lynch had fulfilled his media obligations for the day.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

section-ads_high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation: Lynch Getting 'Hyphy' and Mexico Earthquake Impact
Michael Gehlken joins Bryan Salmond in the studio to discuss how the NFL looks at Marshawn Lynch after getting "hyphy" on the sidelines, and how the Mexico City Earthquake is going to affect the game between the Raiders and the Patriots. They also compare the stats between Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins to see how Carr stands against the Redskins quarterback.
Social Sound Off: Raiders Beat The Jets
Bryan Salmond and Kelly Stewart go over your tweets from the game where the Raiders won their second game of the season.
Construction comes to life at Raiders Stadium site in Las Vegas
Construction activity is coming to life at the Raiders Stadium site in Las Vegas. Heavy vehicles, cranes and water trucks were visible at the site at Russell Road and Dean Martin Drive, just west of Interstate 15. A formal groundbreaking for the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium is expected in late November. Plans indicate the stadium will be 225 feet tall with 10 levels. It is also expected to gave a see-through video wall.
Mack, Joseph and Penn on the Raiders win over the Jets
Oakland Raiders' Khalil Mack, Karl Joseph and Donald Penn talk about defeating the New York Jets in their home opener, 45-20.
Carr on how Crabtree and the running game led to their win over the Jets
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr spoke to reporters during his post-game new conference about how special a player Michael Crabtree is and how effective the running game was in their 45-20 win over the New York Jets.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Improve to 2-0 with Easy Win Over Jets
Bryan Salmond, Michael Gehlken, Ron Kantowski and Gilbert Manzano break down the Raiders 45-20 win over the New York Jets, including the party-like atmosphere, Marshawn Lynch's impact on the team as well as another solid performance from the defense.
Nacion Vegas: Los Raiders Derrotan a los Jets
Los Raiders derrotan a los Jets, 45-20. Crabtree tuvo un día espectacular con tres anotaciónes. Lynch hizo una anotación debutando en su ciudad natal.
Vegas Nation: Conley to Make Debut, Penn Signs Deal
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken discuss Donald Penn's new contract extension as well as first-round pick Gareon Conley is set to make his NFL debut on Sunday against the Jets
Raiders, Donald Penn finalize 2-year, $21M extension
The Raiders and Donald Penn have finalized a 2-year, $21 million contract extension. The veteran left tackle is now under contract through the 2019 season. All of the team’s five starting offensive linemen to begin the season are signed through at least the 2018 campaign. Penn, 34, skipped all of training camp amid dissatisfaction with a $5.8 million salary. The Raiders waited until after Sunday’s season opener versus the Tennessee Titans before making a concerted effort to negotiate.
Vegas Nation: Lynch Fined, Sean Smith Sits Out
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken discuss Sean Smith missing Thursday's practice with a neck injury as well as Marshawn Lynch receiving a fine for his actions against the Titans.
Vegas Nation: Raiders maintain healthy roster
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken discuss today's Raiders news, including what the environment might be like for Marshawn Lynch's first regular season game in Oakland as well as the health of the roster heading into the matchup with the New York Jets.
Vegas Nation: Tavecchio Makes Strong NFL Debut
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken break down Giorgio Tavecchio's solid performance against the Titans on Sunday as well as the Raiders defense playing better than anyone expected them to. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
ad-315×600
News Headlines
pos-2 — ads_infeed_1
post-4 — ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like