Five next-day Oakland thoughts

August, 29, 2011
8/29/11
3:20
PM ET
I wanted to express some more thoughts on the Oakland Raiders after being at their preseason loss to New Orleans on Sunday night:

Darrius Heyward-Bey: This kid has to get it going. He had two drops Sunday night. Neither was a simple catch, but they were drops all the same. One drop was on a deep pass and the other was on a short route, which Oakland has been using Heyward-Bey on lately. He reportedly has improved this summer and I don’t doubt it. But this is the third season for the No. 7 overall pick of the 2009 draft. When you see players like Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore and Derek Hagan come into Oakland and make a bigger impact than Heyward-Bey, you have to wonder when the light will come on for Heyward-Bey and whether he’ll ever become anything more.

Taiwan Jones: I liked Oakland’s decision to draft Jones moments after it made the pick and I’m not changing my mind after seeing him play live for the first time. Wow, folks, this kid can fly. What makes it even more exciting is that he’s in a perfect spot playing behind Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. Don’t expect Jones to be a 1,500-yard back, but he won’t have to be. Oakland will be able to pop Jones on the field and defense will not know what to do. Jones will be a terror on third downs. Get him in the open field and watch out. I think he could have the same impact in Oakland as Darren Sproles had in San Diego.

The backup QB: It looks like Kyle Boller may have separated himself a bit from Trent Edwards on Sunday night. They were in a tight battle, but Boller played better against the Saints. He entered the game as the backup. In Edwards’ defense, Boller had better protection. Still, the final decision will likely be made in October when Terrelle Pryor comes off the suspension list.

Need to tackle better: There’s no getting around it, the Raiders have to tackle better in all phases. This defense has talent, but it has been taken advantage of in the preseason. It must play better when the lights come on.

Campbell-Saunders: Starting quarterback Jason Campbell looks improved from last year. He clearly is benefiting from being with coach Hue Jackson for another year. Don’t discount the effect new offensive coordinator Al Saunders is having on Campbell. The two worked together in Washington and they have a fine personal relationship as well. Plus, Saunders and Jackson are on the same page and it seems the three are all combining to boost Campbell’s game.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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