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Saturday, August 17, 2013
Raiders have to show some promise

By Bill Williamson

Random thoughts on the Oakland Raiders' 28-20 loss at New Orleans on Friday night:

The key for the Raiders this summer is to make progress. Some progress appeared to be made in the preseason opener last week against Dallas. Oakland showed it had some issues, but there were some promising things shown.

There was not a lot of promise shown in the Big Easy.

The Saints toyed with the Raiders. Oakland’s first unit was completely outclassed. The Raiders were manhandled at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball as New Orleans led 17-0 in the first quarter.

While it’s just the preseason, that type of first-unit failure is concerning, especially for a team that has so many question marks. This team has to get it together quickly. But can it?

Oakland was troubled in essentially every phase at New Orleans. Perhaps the biggest issues were a lack of a pass rush and a lack of pass protection. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees shredded Oakland and Raiders starting quarterback Matt Flynn was sacked five times

The offensive line also didn’t open much running room. Tailback Darren McFadden was stuffed as he had 17 yards on five carries. The offense is featuring Alex Barron at left tackle and Andre Gurode at a guard spot. They both didn’t play last year. It is difficult to expect much from these guys if they are going to be starting in the regular season. It is concerning that Tony Bergstrom -- the first pick of the Reggie McKenzie era last year -- can’t get significant playing time on a line in flux.

Backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor showed his problems with consistency. He had his moments last week, but he wasn’t very good at New Orleans. Undrafted rookie quarterback Matt McGloin was so-so as he threw a pick. Fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson didn’t even throw a pass. It will be interesting to see if Wilson can dig himself out of a hole.

Both veteran Chris Kluwe and youngster Marquette King punted well. If King continues to punt well and he practices well, he could take the job. Consistency is his key and he has been responding.

The Raiders didn’t come out of the loss overly healthy. Cornerback Tracy Porter (expected to be the No. 3 cornerback) suffered a groin injury and tight end David Ausberry (who is in the starting mix) suffered a shoulder injury. Coach Dennis Allen said both injuries could be significant.

Among the bright spots for Oakland were rookie receiver Brice Butler, defensive lineman Jack Crawford and defensive back Brandian Ross. They all look like they could be contributors.