When Oakland Raiders battled the New Orleans Saints on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, I think there was a part of every fan that said, “Please don’t let them go out there and get embarrassed.” It’s been a rough period of Raider football over the decade of defeat. So far this preseason, Hue Jackson’s team has left a lot to be desired, but hey, it’s only the preseason, right? Still, there are some bright spots from the game Sunday, like Jacoby Ford and Darren McFadden getting the cellophane treatment.
We’re going to have to ask you to slow down, Mr. Jones
“The hardest thing was trying to slow myself down,” said the Raiders’ fourth round draft choice, running back Taiwan Jones. “I was so anxious and excited that I was able to showcase my talent against another team that I was a little too fast sometimes. I just had to slow things down, take a deep breath and try to be patient.”
The homegrown Jones stole the show, despite an impressive Saints offense. He never broke that big one that you know he is capable of doing, but he did manage to get some fans on the edge of their seats. His acceleration and top speed could be unmatched in the NFL. Everyone will say Chris Johnson, including Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth, but Jones could be faster given the fact that Johnson already has some NFL mileage on him. You know you’re fast when you have to tell yourself to slow down.
Jones had family in the stands for the game and he also had his nerves: “I hold a lot of high expectations for myself, but I kind of [surprised myself] today. Playing at the next level, you get kind of excited. You don’t know what to expect until you’re out there, but at the end of the day it’s just football.”
Play on player.
Routt talks 0’s for media
Always the first to sit down and take thirty minutes to talk to anyone who will listen, Stanford Routt made a name for himself by putting himself out there over the offseason. He gave at least three half-hour interviews discussing his above average season in 2010 as well as the departure of future Hall of Fame cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha. Routt praised the young guys and told folks they would have somebody step up and fill that void.
Trouble is, while Routt was busy stepping in to fill that NA/21 void, he created another void on the side of the field where he used to be.
“We still have time,” Routt said after the game. “We’re 0-3 in the preseason, but we’re 0-0 in the regular season. That’s the beauty of it. We’ve just to got to keep fighting. Mistakes are going to happen. You want to try to keep them at a minimum, but the beauty of mistakes is they’re easily correctible.”
There hasn’t been much beauty whatsoever to the Raiders this year, even on the defense. Also, is he saying that the mistakes are currently at the maximum? After getting smoked on the ground for 200 yards against the 49ers, the Raiders followed it by giving up over 500 yards of offense to the Saints, most of those yards by way of an air show produced courtesy of Saints’ quarterbacks Drew Brees and his back-up Chase Daniel.
Routt is right, it’s easy to correct mistakes after the fact, but it would be beautiful if the Raiders defense could exploit their opponent’s mistakes in the same way they are getting abused. Routt himself is a good cornerback, but what happens if has to get an “Oil Change”?
Hagan the Hopeful Hands
Six catches for a buck-21, two of them that went for 35 yard gains, and one touchdown. All in a day’s work for Mr. Derek Hagan; but that’s a heck of a receiving day for a number two – at best – wide receiver. This guy who was originally brought in to be a camp body may have just impressed the coaches enough to get him into that final 53-man bubble.
“Coming out here today and making plays, it felt good, but hopefully we can keep this thing going,” said Hagan after the loss at the Coliseum. “This offense, coaches are, you know, they’re moving me around and putting me in different positions to make plays and that’s something they did in New York with me.”
This is something that Hue Jackson is widely known for, taking a player and finding out what he is comfortable doing, and then putting that in the game plan. Evidently, the first year front man has found out what those special skills are that Hagan possesses.
“They put me in different positions to make plays, but here, I pretty much know what I’m doing, I know how to get open, and the quarterbacks, they have the confidence in me to get open and make those plays and just got to keep doing it.”
The Raiders have not shown what they are capable of doing because they have yet to be at full strength this season. However, you can already tell that certain positions go deeper than others. They appear to have a good mix of old and young players, but it remains to be seen if they can manage to pull it all together and turn it into a more consistent producer instead of a process that is currently in production.
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