By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, August 29th, 2009 at 7:32 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News and notes from the Raiders’ 45-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints Saturday at the Coliseum:
– Tom Cable said the Raiders didn’t have any zip, Jon Alston said there was a lack of enthusiasm and the stats said the Raiders barely showed up at all.
New Orleans had 31 first downs (14 rushing, 14 passing, three by penalty), the Raiders had 9.
New Orleans had 536 yards of total offense (304 passing, 232 rushign) and the Raiders had 289 (237 passing, 52 rushing).
New Orleans was 8-for-16 on third down conversions, the Raiders were 1-for-10.
New Orleans was 4-for-4 on fourth down conversions, the Raiders were 1-for-3.
New Orleans ran 83 plays and had the ball for 39:27, the Raiders had it for 47 snaps and 20:33.
– The official attendance (tickets sold) was 32,585. The amount of people who actually showed up was considerably less, and many were booing after the Saints scored on the second of their three effortless drives to open the game.
– Repeat to yourself, “It was only a preseason game.” Otherwise, the game had the distinct aroma of some of the Raiders worst home field performances of recent years. At least that’s what it says in my Web exclusive column.
– Game circumstance would have made it difficult for the Raiders to run, but Cable indicated the plan was to pass anyway. He is determined to upgrade the passing attack, and it appears to have worked to some extent.
The quesiton whether they can suddenly revert to being an upper eschelon running team after working so hard on passing during pracitce and preseason games. Cable said the Raiders are doing enough in their running periods in practice to stay sharp for Week 1 of the regular season.
“I stated numerous times we really need to get this passing game to a level that will give us some balance where we can score points,” Cable said. “We just continue to want to work at that. I believe it’s the right thing to do.”
– Wide receiver Louis Murphy was targeted seven times and caught three passes for 84 yards, but had two drops and a fumble _ the fumble coming after a 38-yard gain from Russell into New Orleans territory.
“Aw, man, it was my worst game ever,” Murphy said. “Two drops, a big-time fumble, costly when we tried to come back and give a spark to the offense. I take that responsibility. The NFL is faster and the DBs are right on you so you have to work on tucking the ball away.”
– Darrius Heyward-Bey, the first-round pick and also a rookie starter, caught a 12-yard slant on the first play from scrimmage and was blanked afteward even though he played into the third quarter.
– Wide receiver Javon Walker estimates he got in about “six or seven” snaps. He was never the target of a pass as the Raiders are easing him back in slowly. When asked if he was disappointed he didn’t play more, Walker said, “A little bit, you know just to get into the grove. Obviously it’s kind of hard to keep yourself motivated, keep yourself warm, but I’ll take what I can get and let them make a decision from there.”
– Wide receiver Jonathan Holland scored the Raiders’ only touchdown on a 43-yard catch and run from Jeff Garcia and plans on putting it behind him to concentrate on his roster battle with Nick Miller and Todd Watkins.
“As a football player you never become complacent,” Holland said. “You don’t want to be like that. I feel like next week, starting Monday, I still gotta go out there and prove myself. So I don’t want to settle for what happened today, or for what happened at practice. I want to keep getting better.”
– Safety Hiram Eugene didn’t start after missing a few days of practice and was a late arrival Devery Henderson’s 40-yard touchdown reception from Drew Brees.
– Other than holding on to the ball too long and coughing up the ball on a sack-fumble, Russell continued to show growth as a young quarterback.
“I didn’t really see too much of what you would you say poor decision making,” Cable said. “I thought he was pretty much right on.”
Russell’s fumble came on a play which Cable thought he should have checked down to a back rather than wait for Zach Miller to come free in the end zone. It was reminisicent of last season, where fumbles (Russell lost seven of them) were a bigger issue than interceptions.
– Terdell Sands never got into a game in which the Saints had 83 snaps. Cable said he’s been bypassed on the depth chart. Could be they simply don’t want Sands to be hurt because he they’re planning on cutting him during the opening cut down to 75 on Tuesday.
– Desmond Bryant, the undrafted rookie out of Harvard, had the Raiders’ lone sack and seems assured a spot on the 53-man roster.
– “Like I just told them, don’t let that game define us, but certainlygoing into it you want to put an effort out there that kind of sets you up for the rest of the road here. Disappointing. Very disappointing, is the only way to put it. We’ll go back to work and see if we can freshen up and get this team where it should be,” Cable, when asked what he told the team after the game.
– There wasn’t a lot of explanation from defenders as to what happened. Most said they were embarrassed, need to pay attention to detail and have to play better. It was hard to conclude anything other than 2009 could be more of the same with regard to the Raiders defense.
Getting cut up by Brees is one thing. That’s going to happen to a lot of teams. But the Saints’ ability to run the ball with ease suggests they’re not close to curing what ails them in that area.
– After going from 14 penalties in the preseason opener to seven against San Francisco, the Raiders were back up to 10 against the Saints for 89 yards.
– Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha sustained a chip fracture of his left wrist that Cable said is not an issue in terms of missing game time. Others who didn’t finish included CB-KR Justin Miller (turf toe), S Michael Huff (strained quad) and S Rashad Baker (stinger).