Here are five lessons from the Oakland Raiders 35-34 defeat of the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 11.
The secondary needs work
Usually, you do not take much away from preseason football. However, the Raiders secondary showed signs of struggling during the exhibitions. This carried into the week one game with the Saints.
D.J. Hayden had some crucial penalties that kept some drives alive in the second-half. Willie Snead also got the best of Hayden from the slot.
Plus, Sean Smith got dusted for a 98-yard touchdown catch.
Even before that big play, Smith took his lumps against the New Orleans receivers.
Saints receivers Brandin Cooks and Snead both made plays. Snead registered 172 receiving yards, while Cooks got 143 yards.
That is way too many yards for a secondary group that was suppose to improve exponentially. The group may need more time playing together. However, the pass rush may also need to step their game up. Quarterback Drew Brees was only sacked one time.
The run defense?
Honestly, the New Orleans Saints got away from the run too early. Otherwise, maybe Oakland made some adjustments.
Either way, the Saints made some effective running plays in the first-half. Mark Ingrim dragged some defenders. However, that was not the case in the second-half. Not sure if that is attributed to an Oakland adjustment or if the Saints just liked what they were getting in pass coverage.
Ultimately, our run defense did some and bad. Inside linebacker Ben Heeney played his usual game. He did some good things, but struggled taking on linemen. Our defensive line played well versus the run in the second half. They also got drove back a few times.
Nonetheless, I need to see more from this group to determine how they will play.
Raiders are deep on the offensive line
Oakland had both of their right offensive tackles, Menelik Watson and Matt McCants go down versus the Saints. This is after they lost Austin Howard last week.
The team shuffled the line by moving Donald Penn from left tackle to right tackle. Meanwhile, Kelechi Osemele played left tackle and Jon Feliciano came in at right tackle.
This mismatched group did not prevent the Raiders from moving the ball via the run or pass. Clearly, this group is much improved from top to bottom. Hopefully, Oakland can get those guys back healthy.
Oakland plays to win
When was the last time Oakland started the season 1-0? More importantly, when was the last time you really thought the team could come back in a game that was a shootout?
Despite Oakland trailing in the second-half, you never felt like the game was out of reach. Further, the Raiders went to go and get the win.
They scored on the go ahead two-point conversion thanks to quarterback Derek Carr leading the drive.
Carr matured in yesterday’s game. He proved capable of leading a game-winning drive, and he did not play outsde of his normal abilitites. His decision-making seemed a little late, but Carr’s competitive toughness should never be questioned. Carr reminded us that, yesterday.
Oakland is deep at the skill position
The Silver and Blacked proved their offense can play with the best of them. Not only by the last-minute score, but Oakland played well throughout.
Eight different players caught passes and six players got rushing attempts. This shows Oakland’s depth and it illustrates a regime willing to utilize different players in positions that help the team.
Taiwan Jones, Seth Roberts, Clive Walford and Jamize Olawale made plays that kept the offense on the field. Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree all played their roles outstanding. Therefore, the Raiders have a group on offense.
Othere defenses should be scared as everyone will continue meshing together.