OAKLAND -- Not great, but not bad, either.

There weren't any absolute truths to be gleaned from the Raiders 19-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Friday night in their exhibition opener, but there were signs the team could be an improvement over last season's 4-12 disaster.

No reason to schedule a parade, perhaps, but considering many prognosticators consider the Raiders to be one of the least-talented teams in the NFL, it was at least baby steps in the right direction before 43,013 fans at O.co Coliseum.

Sebastian Janikowski and Eddy Carmona each kicked a pair of field goals, and Brice Butler caught a 30-yard touchdown pass from Matt McGloin to account for the Raiders' scoring.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) runs out of the pocket to avoid Dallas Cowboys’ Jerome Long (9) in the second quarter of their
Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) runs out of the pocket to avoid Dallas Cowboys' Jerome Long (9) in the second quarter of their preseason game at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff)

Janikowski connected from 51 and 40 yards, with Carmona connecting from 42 and 23 yards.

Dallas (1-1) got a 38-yard field goal by Dan Bailey, a 15-yard scoring pass from Kyle Orton to Cole Beasley and a 1-yard TD run by Joseph Dunbar.

"I'm pleased with the way we played, but you always look to see what you can improve on -- and we've got a lot to improve on," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said.

Starting quarterback Matt Flynn and backup Terrelle Pryor each had a turnover and led the team to a field goal in the first half.

Both also showed their respective strengths and weaknesses. Flynn (4 of 5, 37 yards) played it safe and operated within the framework of his talents, while Pryor (6 of 10, 88 yards and three rushes for 31 yards) showed the explosive athleticism that will be utilized whether he starts or not.

The Raiders went ahead for the last time 19-17 on a 23-yard field goal by Carmona following a B.W. Webb fumble of a Marquette King punt, with Eric Harper recovering at the 13-yard line.

Defensively, the Raiders put 10 new starters on the field with the first team, and that unit kept Dallas out of the end zone following Oakland's first turnover -- a sack-fumble lost by Flynn.

Only Allen knows who did and did not enhance their chances of being a factor in 2013, but one thing is for sure -- Butler bears watching in terms of being the outside playmaker the offense desperately needs.

On the Raiders' second possession of the third quarter, Butler accounted for 70 yards of a five-play, 81-yard drive, opening it with a 40-yard completion from McGloin and ending it with a diving catch for the touchdown while being guarded closely by former Raiders' camp cut Sterling Moore.

Butler admitted to tearing up on the ride to the game and was overcome with emotion coming out of the tunnel.

"I'm 23 years old. I waited my whole life for that moment," Butler said.

As for the touchdown, "I just dove, caught it, and after that I didn't know what to do with myself," Butler said.

  • Flynn, who moved well within the pocket, kept the Raiders in good down-and-distance situations and wasn't downgraded for the turnover, which Allen labeled a "protection error." It came on a blindside sack from linebacker Sean Lee.

  • After never putting Pryor in a read-option situation last season, the Raiders joined the club, and the Cowboys seemed mystified by it. Pryor's interception, thrown late and over the middle on a right roll to linebacker J.J. Wilcox, came on third-and-4 from the Dallas 6 on a play where he had room to keep running.

  • Rashad Jennings ran hard in short-yardage and also broke off a 16-yard run, finishing with nine carries for 39 yards and looking like a capable complement for Darren McFadden. McFadden carried three times for 5 yards.

  • Playing without defensive tackles Vance Walker and Pat Sims, as well as defensive end Lamarr Houston, the Raiders weren't able to mount much of a pass rush and Dallas quarterback Tony Romo at times took advantage.

    On one play, Romo had a full seven seconds before throwing an incomplete pass.

    Romo was 4 of 5 for 65 yards on a drive that ended with no points when Tyvon Branch blocked a 26-yard field goal attempt by Bailey.

    "On their first field goal, Tracy Porter got really close to blocking it so I think the wing tried to overextend to get him and I just shot the gap," Branch said.

  • Rookie starting linebacker Sio Moore, 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, played a handful of snaps as a defensive end with his hand on the ground.

  • The third deck east side structure unofficially known as "Mount Daivis" was covered in black tarp with a large Raiders shield. It will remain so all season, and stadium capacity will be approximately 53,000.

  • Second-year defensive end Jack Crawford, whom Allen cited as a player who needs to step up his performance, batted down a Romo pass to help stall the Cowboys after they opened at the Oakland 16 after Flynn's lost fumble.

  • With Jacoby Ford out with an unspecified injury, running back-turned cornerback Taiwan Jones lined up as a kick return specialist. He took a kickoff 5 yards deep in the end zone and returned it 29 yards.

  • Sixth-round draft pick Stacy McGee joined third-round pick Moore as rookies in the starting lineup.

  • Raiders captains were Charles Woodson and Nick Roach on defense, Flynn and McFadden on offense and Janikowski on special teams. Woodson received the biggest cheer when the defense was introduced before the game. It was his first time at the Coliseum as a Raider since a 30-21 loss to the New York Giants to end the 2005 season.

  • Former Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica lit the Al Davis torch before the game.

    For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on Twitter at twitter.com/Jerrymcd.