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Hall of Fame game: Raiders give coach Josh McDaniels happy homecoming, beat Jaguars

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Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, 28, kicks the ball down the field during an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, August 4, 2022, in Canton, Ohio.  (AP Photo/Kirk Irvin)
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) runs with the ball down the field during a Hall of Fame game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday in Canton, Ohio. (Kirk Irvin/Associated Press)

The Las Vegas Raiders gave coach Josh McDaniels a successful homecoming on his debut for their side.

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Josh Jacobs, rookie Zameer White and Austin Walter ran well in the rain-soaked field, and the Raiders thrashed Jacksonville 27-11 in Thursday night’s Hall of Fame game, ruining coach Doug Pederson’s first game with the Jaguars.

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McDaniels grew up in this historic football town and played for his father, Tom McDaniels, at Canton McKinley High School on this field at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame stadium, known as Fawcett Stadium, when he was a quarterback and varsity kicker.

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“It was a unique opportunity and I am very grateful that I had it,” McDaniels said. “This is the first time I’ve been to this Hall of Famer game in 22 years. To be able to do it here with him, my family and the people who helped me along the way, it was a very special evening for them. I really enjoyed it.”

Derek Carr and Davante Adams warmed up but didn’t get the chance to play their first game together since Fresno State. Carr, a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, and Adams, an All-Pro wide receiver acquired in a blockbuster trade with Green Bay, were among the many starters who did not play on both teams.

Trevor Lawrence of Jacksonville wore his cap backwards on the touchline, while third-string quarterback Jake Luton started.

The first NFL preseason game started 40 minutes late due to bad weather, which forced fans to seek shelter.

As expected, things went wrong after the first strike.

Top choice Travon Walker took a rough penalty on Raiders backup QB Jarrett Stidham on the first play after the scrum. Walker later registered his dismissal.

The highlight of the game does not count. Jacksonville’s Willie Johnson returned the punt for 88 yards and scored a goal in the final game of the third quarter, but it was annulled by a penalty holdout.

McDaniels, 46, is starting his second job as an NFL head coach after winning six Super Bowls as an assistant to Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. The McDaniels were 11-17 with Denver in 2009-10.

Pederson is also starting his second lineup as an NFL head coach after a hiatus in 2021. He led the Philadelphia Eagles to the franchise’s first Super Bowl win and three playoff appearances in five seasons from 2016 to 2020.

Pederson has already changed culture in Jacksonville after a disastrous 2021 season under Urban Meyer that only lasted 11 months.

He is tasked with turning one of the league’s worst organizations into a winner. The Jaguars have had one winning season in the past 14 years.

“You want a place where everyone enjoys coming to work and enjoying the environment, the people, understanding that we are going to work hard,” Pederson said. “There is no substitute for hard work and preparation if you are aiming for a championship and these guys have backed you up.”

Daniel Carlson scored 32-yard and 55-yard field goals to give the Raiders a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. Amir Abdullah scored on an eight-yard run in the second quarter and Stidham threw for 12 yards for a touchdown to make it 20–0 late in the first half.

Down 27-3, the Jaguars found the end zone when Kyle Slaughter threw a five-yard TD pass to Nathan Cottrell late in the fourth quarter. Cottrell ran to the middle and made a two-point conversion.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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