New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders: Initial Thoughts After an Improved Effort

We learned absolutely nothing about the Oakland Raiders' rush defense as they took on the New Orleans Saints. It was hardly tested. And that is because Drew Brees was picking apart this defense with ease. DVD was usually the victim of Brees pin-point passing. He was often in position, but his inability to find the ball left him helpless to do much about it. 

DVD and the other corners did not benefit from much of a pass rush. The Raiders were not able to get any pressure on Brees. They mixed in some blitzes and when they did it did not work.

The lopsided score of this game is of little consequence to me. The first team played well enough to hang with the Saints, and that is despite the fact that the Raiders were without a lot of key players. So let's look at things I am more concerned about.

On the offensive side, Taiwan Jones, Taiwan Jones, Taiwan Jones! Welcome to the NFL young man. This game is not too big for you.

Taiwan had his share of highlights in this game and he is going to have his share during the season. We knew about his speed, but what impressed me most was his ability to make people miss in small spaces. He has the talent to run between the tackles. He isn't going to run people over, but he is strong enough and has enough balance to keep going after indirect contact.

One thing he will need to work on, is pass blocking. He got BLOWN up by an LB and it led to a sack.

There were quite a few positive to take from the offense. And that is a great sign considering they were without McFadden, Ford, Murphy and Boss.

Jason Campbell was rock solid except for a bonehead decision to throw to a double covered Brandon Meyers at the close of the first half. The ball was deflected into the air and intercepted. The pick cost the Raiders at least three points. And it is the exact kind of play that cannot happen in the regular season. Campbell finished 12-for-17 with 150 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Jump over for more thoughts....

  • Derek Hagan was outstanding. He ran crisp routes, flashed great hands, and he was an absolute beast after he caught the ball. Hagan had six catches for 121 yards and 1 TD. Maybe the most impressive stat with Hagan was that all six times he was targeted, it resulted in a completion. 
  • DHB had a DHB day. He was targeted twice and had zero receptions. He had a hand on both passes. He does not deserve a starting spot and I will be disappointed if he is in Week One.
  • Michael Bush is ready for the season. It is hard to believe the Raiders have a back good enough to relegate Bush to the bench but they do. Bush was running over, around and past Saints. He finished with 5 carries for 32 yards and 2 catches for 24 yards.
  • Outside Linebacker continues to be a weakness. They aren't good at stopping the run and they may be worse at guarding the pass.
  • Bruce Campbell and Joe Barksdale looked fantastic together on the right side with the second team. Keep in mind, they were going against backups from a team that doesn't really test an offensive line all that much to begin with, but it is still great to see.
  • Sterling Moore continues to be one of the few corners making a play on the ball. He batted down a ball on a goalline situation. I wish he would have got a little time with the starters. 
  • Rolando McClain had a solid day. He was very active in pass defense, and he certainly looks a step quicker than last season.
  • Stefen Wisniewski looked the best I have seen him yet, and that is exactly what you want out of a rookie. He and Satele showed solid teamwork on the inside.
  • Stephon Heyer showed off his athleticism on a deflected pass. He hauled it in and took off for a first down. He also looked good at right tackle. May win that job. 
  • Sebastian Janikowski looks better than every, and that is saying a lot. He is absolutely drilling kicks. A 65-yarder is not out of the question this season. 
  • Kyle Boller looked dramatically better than Trent Edwards tonight.
  • Nick Miller is not going to make this team.
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