Normally, a preseason loss ranks right up there in importance with an I Love Lucy rerun on Nick at Night. However, a number of factors combine to have this game screaming "There is a problem." If it was the third and fourth teams completely dominated, that would merit a quick yawn and the justification that those guys will be auditioning for the UFL in a matter of months. However, it was the first team doing the Washington Generals impersonation. Frankly, there is not enough negative superlatives in the Oxford English Dictionary to adequately describe just how dismal the Raiders putrid play really was.
This game serves as the canary in the coal mine because it is the all important third preseason game. This is the one game where the Raiders were supposed to have a game plan to go against the Saints, and simulate a regular season game. (oops!)
The Raiders starting defense supposedly took the field after the Saints returned the opening kickoff. However, eleven guys picked up at Home Depot on the way to the stadium. Drew Brees effectively sliced and diced the Raiders defense as he led the Saints on three touchdown drives in three attempts. Admittedly, he did get an assist on his final touchdown drive by two bonehead pass interference calls on Stanford "I lasted longer than the guy selected in front of me at the same position" Routt.
Nnamdi Asomugha provided the defensive highlight (There's a surprise) when he blasted a Saints receiver to break up a rare pass thrown in Aso's direction. Newcomer Michael Hawkins provided a second defensive highlight when he laid a good hit on a receiver to make a tackle for a minimal gain.
The Saints pulled Brees and many of their offensive starters with ten minutes left in the SECOND QUARTER. Had they stayed in, there is no telling how many negative defensive records the Raiders would have set. According to figures worked out by one of my colleagues, the Saints were on pace to score 60+ points, and gain over 800 yards rushing. There is no excuse for play like that.
The Raiders play against the run has been nothing short of terrible during this recent run of futility. However, the Raiders have steadfastly refused to invest in defensive linemen who can stop the run. The Raiders acquisition of Derrick Burgess in 2005 brought in a pass rusher. Tommy Kelly was rewarded with a rich contract because he was supposed to be able to rush the passer. Gerard Warren is a pass rushing defensive tackle. Trevor Scott is at best a situational pass rusher, but he looks to be starting at defensive end.
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