Ugly Loss Adds Insult to the Injuries
by, 08-17-2013 at 12:10 PM (20032 Views)
There is no way to describe the 28-20 first string beat down, second and third team close redemption, New Orleans Saints over my Oakland Raiders game as anything but ugly.
I mean the u-g-l-y you ain't go no alibi kind of ugly. There were a couple of extenuating circumstances for the Raiders. For example, the front five of both the offense and the defense have yet to play with their entire projected starters, as seen on the officially released depth chart. However,in this era of football, it is next man up. When one's number is called, one needs to rise to the occasion. That didn't happen.
As much as I like Alex Barron, he definitely had trouble holding up to the onslaught of blitz packages that Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan threw at the Raiders. He threw everything except the kitchen sink. I know the Saints plan on an aggressive defense, but this is not what is normally seen in a pre-season game. Obviously the Raiders were not prepared for it. It just wasn't Barron. At one point in time or other every single player on the offensive line just flat missed a block somewhere and either allowed pressure on the quarterback, or allowed the sack.
Matt McGloin was sacked once, as was Terrelle Pryor. This outing for Pryor was not near as exciting, either. While still using a pistol/read-option, Pryor was running for his life. And not sliding. In the NFL, that will get him injured. He completed only one of his passes for 9 yards. The one time he audibled, he barely got the ball snapped in time, and another time, he seemed ill -prepared for it. In fact, he missed the snap. He didn't get sacked that play, but his throw was so bad, he was lucky he didn't get picked off. His QB rating? 39.6. With tape on him, this is something I expected and have predicted. And this was NOT the first string defense.
Poor Matt Flynn was sacked 5 times. That is ridiculous. Flynn sometimes barely had time to look for his first read when he was nailed from the blind side. But this time he protected the ball better. No fumbles, no interceptions. In fact, I was wishing we went no huddle to not allow the Saints to make defensive subsitutions. In the 2 minute drill, when there was, comparatively, less immediate pressure, Flynn moved the ball 82 yards in 11 plays, using 2:32. That drive ended in a touch down reception by Denarius Moore. Though Moore hauled that one in, I was a little nervous. He hobbled the ball. He doesn't have the more sure hands of Brice Butler. He only missed once on the times he was targeted, and that was losing the ball when he hit the ground after really reaching for one high pass and looking pretty close to still coming down , initially, in bounds. Matt Flynn, against a first string defense and with the benfit of the last drive, ended with a 117.7 qb rating.
David Ausberry was looking more and more like an all around first-string tight end, with 2 receptions for 30 yards.
Darren McFadden looked a little better than last week, but we need more production from him, Rashad Jennings and Jeremy Stewart.
It isn't just the offense that needs work.
For the second week in a row, there was very little defensive pressure on the opposing quarterback. With Drew Brees under center, that's a disaster in the making. There is not way any defensive secondary can keep coverage on the multitude of potential pass recipients, whether they be a full back, half back, wide receiver or tight end. Give Brees 5 seconds and he can find the open man, Give him 10 seconds and he can make a play, even against a nickel or dime defense. Why? Because no amount of defensive backs can sufficiently cover for that length of time. Are we seeing what we will have hopefully at the beginning of the regular season? Short answer: NOPE.
There were inexplicable and inexcusable missed tackles and poor technique used.
The secondary was still missing a potential starter, first round draft pick D.J. Hayden, though he was at least dressed out for the game. In BLACK. And that is how he will be in practice on Sunday. No more protected red jersey. He didn't see play time tonight, but I am sure he felt more a part of the team. Practice will be real for him, and so will the next game, against the Chicago Bears. The current depth chart has Hayden playing behind Tracy Porter, but that could change with recent circumstances.
Our linebacking corp still seems to be the strongest part of the defense, and hopefully will get even better when Miles Burris is available again.
So how ugly were things defensively? The Saints had 240 net yards, 202 in the air, and had the 23 points to back up those yards, and had the ball for 3 full minutes longer. Normally, i don't care about yards, because the points are what counts. They had both. Three minutes doesn't seem like a long time, but try seeing how you feel after 3 minutes of wrassling. Yeah , wrassling, cuz that's pretty much what the defensive line is doing for that time. It is wearing, even if one is in peak condition. It seemed that Tracy Porter Brees' favorite sucker. He was was toasted by a pass more than once. More than twice. He was abused on the field.
But then there were a couple of bright spots. Joselio Hanson was making plays. Jack Crawford was looking damned good. But it was Kaelin Burnett that lead the defense in tackles, and he forced a fumble.
While it appeared awful, and points wise (the only thing that counts), I did take some solace in that we allowed only THREE plays of more than 20 yards. That is an improvement from last season.
One of the biggest improvements by a player? Marquette King, our punter. He had 3 huge punts, the only fly in the ointment, per se, was the 61 yarder that netted only 41 as it was a touchback. Even net wise, he did better than Chris Kluwe. By 10 yards.
Also to mention on special teams. The bad - Josh Cribbs was looking tentative, but at least he didn't run backwards. As far as the other way, the longest return for either a punt or kick off by a Saint was 26 yards. Again, an improvement from last season.
The final score still showed the Raiders with the loss. Tracy Porter left the field, walking very gingerly with a groing injury. David Ausberry came down awkwardly after a pass reception and injured his shoulder. Kevin Burnett left the game after getting dinged up. None of these are good, as they all are potential starters.
Even with these key injuries, the team didn't quit. This is evidenced by the decline in points allowed from the first half to the second half. Down by 16 points, it would have been easy to just shrug shoulders and not give damn, they did. Despite getting flagged 12 times for 127 yards, with a couple of those calls, including 1 holding call that took away a first down and personal foul on defense that were very questionable, they kept playing with effort.
As far as coaching, it seemed more like the Raiders were playing not to the Saints but to see what they had , and what they could do. While I understand that, it is incomprehensible to me that Dennis Allen would not be prepared for this game, for this TEAM.
I am hoping for a more disciplined team, with better tackling and a better game plan designed for the team we are facing, Da Bears.
Ya'know what else? I still believe this team can be a spoiler team. Maybe more.
Win lose or tie, RAIDERS til I DIE!