Raiders vs. Saints: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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We’re at that point in the preseason where you can begin to tell what the Raiders are going to be like this season. Don’t assume the Saints doubling Hue Jackson’s misery to the tune of 40-20 means all hope is lost. There is definitely cause for concern in some areas. There are also plenty of other bright spots that Coach Jackson needs to shine a more powerful bulb on.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly of Oakland’s third loss of this 2011 preseason.

The Good

- Taiwan Jones. Don’t really need to say too much more than that if you saw his NFL debut. The rookie is better than advertised. Cris Collinsworth threw out the Chris Johnson comparison. Too early for that but Jones isn’t just fast, he plays fast. This guy is a real weapon for Coach Jackson. He makes great cuts, is shifty, fights for every yard, can stop and then accelerate to full speed in no time flat and I’m pretty sure I saw him rescue a kitten from a tree for a crying little girl.

- Derek Hagan got himself a real number, giving up #6 to Terrelle Pryor and then got fitted for #80 which Zach Miller used to wear. Hagan has himself a real job too. The former Sun Devil runs great routes, shows good hands, has impressive strength and is a playmaker in the open field. He’s a chain moved n third down and he’ll be on the 53 man…sorry Nick Miller.

– The power running game is impressive. Michael Bush ran behind an O-line that was finally playing like that Bully Coach Jackson has in the blueprints. Oakland marched downfield on a clock consuming 91 yard drive in the first quarter. Stefen Wisniewski looks very comfortable in Robert Gallery’s old spot. Jared Veldheer looks much stronger this season. The only questions are still on the right side and I’m not so sure Joe Barksdale isn’t the best bet over Khalif Barnes. If nothing else Stephon Heyer deserves an expanded role after showing better hands than Darrius Heyward-Bey on a tipped pass.

- Jason Campbell is becoming more than a game manager QB. He’s starting to cut it loose out there. I’ll settle for an INT in the end zone at the end of the half. At least he’s looking to take chances in the right game situations.  Plus he’s dissecting defenses at the line in a Drew Brees-like fashion. JC is getting good at finding those areas to exploit on opposing defenses and proved it today.

– Two words you might not ever hear to describe a kicker but could certainly apply to Sebastian Janikowski this season – fantasy stud.

- Rolando McClain was supposed to be great against the run and terrible against the pass. So far the opposite is very true.

The Bad

– Depending on how you look at it, either DeMarcus Van Dyke is getting the DeAngelo Hall treatment or Stanford Routt is getting the Nnamdi Asomugha treatment. DVD makes his mistakes but for the most part he’s in good position to make a play. Problem is he doesn’t even try to find the ball. QBs like Brees kills corners that face guard. Van Dyke has got to get that head around. This isn’t college. Receivers in this league show late hands and can make plays even when their being blanketed by coverage.

– Not having Richard Seymour was no excuse for the D-line to get pushed around. No matter who was taking snaps for the Saints they had all day long to throw. In order to help the young DBs the line needs to make life uncomfortable in the pocket.

– Penalties are still a problem. When is this going to end? It’s not so much how many flags the Raiders earn. It’s more so about when they are occurring. Like Wisniewski putting his offense into a 3rd and 20. These kinds of things can’t happen with this offense. Oakland’s got to avoid third and long scenarios this year.

- Trent Edwards has pretty much handed the backup job to Kyle Boller. Which means Edwards has actually just handed his job over to Terrelle Pryor…whenever Pryor he’s eligible.

– NBC and the national media as a whole have done a pretty terrible job of reporting all the speculation on Pryor appealing his suspension. Let’s just wait and see what happens. The guy has participated in one NFL practice. NBC had to correct themselves on the air tonight by misconstruing the supposed facts of the player’s union seeking to appeal.

The Ugly

The defense.

– Let’s not kid ourselves, replacing Nnamdi Asomugha was impossible but is looking more difficult by the day. Having a healthy Chris Johnson will help but you’ve got to expect some injuries to occur so someone else has got to step up. Walter McFadden had his best game of the preseason but he’s still not ready for primetime. Sterling Moore shows some promise but isn’t quite the coverage corner the Raiders need. Chimdi Chekwa looked lost playing deep. The secondary is still a mess. I know Jimmy Graham is going to be good but the Raiders made him look like a prime Antonio Gates.

– The run defense is also a mess. Tyvon Branch is the only player that seems to be in position more often that not. The rest are always chasing the ball. Kamerion Wimbley hasn’t been a factor rushing the passer so his presence in run support is even more useless. Jerome Boyd is getting more comfortable in that LB/S hybrid position but he’s still not focused on every snap. Chuck Bresnahan has got to get his guys communicating and committing on every play. With the secondary being as shaky as it is the run defense has got to be consistent.

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Tags: Antonio Gates Chris Johnson Chuck Bresnahan Darrius Heyward-Bey Deangelo Hall DeMarcus Van Dyke Derek Hagan Drew Brees Hue Jackson Jared Veldheer Jason Campbell Jerome Boyd Jimmy Graham Joseph Barksdale Kamerion Wimbley Khalif Barnes Kyle Boller Michael Bush New Orleans Saints Nick Miller Nnamdi Asomugha Oakland Raiders Richard Seymour Robert Gallery Rolando McClain Sebastian Janikowski Stanford Routt Stefen Wisniewski Stephon Heyer Sterling Moore Taiwan Jones Terrelle Pryor Trent Edwards Tyvon Branch Walter McFadden Zach Miller

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