Halftime notes from Oakland
August, 28, 2011
By Bill Williamson | ESPN.com
OAKLAND -- Notes from halftime as the New Orleans Saints lead the Oakland Raiders, 17-10 in a preseason game:
- New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, a long-time Raider killer, ripped the Raiders apart again. He threw for 189 yards before being taken out late in the half. The Saints were 6-for-8 on third-down conversions with Brees in the game. New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham had five catches for 73 yards in the first half.
- The Raiders’ offense looked great on their first series. Everyone looked sharp as they cruised down the field 91 yards for a touchdown. Running back Michael Bush was tremendous as he had 32 yards on five carries in the first half. He looks to be in midseason form.
- Rookie Taiwan Jones had 10 yards on four carries and he had a nifty run on a short pass called back by penalty. Yes, he is as advertised -- the fourth-round pick can fly. Expect Oakland to feature him on third-down screen plays during the season.
- Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski showed off his monster leg with a 57-yard field goal. I’m not one to make outrageous predictions, but mark me down for this one: Janikowski breaks the NFL record for the longest field goal this season. He has the leg and Oakland coach Hue Jackson trusts him. The record is 63 yards.
- Brees picked on rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke at will. Van Dyke is getting great experience, but if he doesn’t make fast strides, teams will challenge him early and often when he is on the field.
- Veteran receiver Derek Hagan scored on a 35-yard pass from Jason Campbell on the team's first possession. The journeyman receiver is having a strong summer and he could be in Oakland’s receiving rotation.
- Campbell was sharp. He completed 12 of 17 passes for 150 yards. He looked good in the two-minute drill on the final drive of the half before he was picked off on a deflected pass. Campbell did well in the two-minute drill late last season.
- Oakland’s offensive line looked solid. It’s a work in progress, but it is making strides. I like rookie Stefen Wisniewski at left guard and veteran Samson Satele at center. Wisniewski is very athletic and seems to play with a nasty streak. He excelled in the first half in run blocking.
- Defensive lineman Richard Seymour is being held out with a hamstring injury.
- Running back Darren McFadden and receiver Jacoby Ford also are among those not playing. They returned to practice this week, but they are being held out as a precaution. Expect to see them when the regular season begins in Denver.
- Pass-rusher Trevor Scott played for the first time since suffering a knee injury in November.
- Oakland second-year middle linebacker Rolando McClain looks very active. He is always near the ball.
- Nick Miler muffed the opening kickoff. Not a great move for a guy on the bubble.
- NBC reported during its telecast that quarterback Terelle Pryor will not play Sunday night, but he will play Friday in the preseason finale at Seattle. Oakland took the former Ohio State quarterback in the supplemental draft Monday.
- Oakland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey had two drops.
- Jeff Miller, the head of NFL security, is at the game as part of the league’s investigation into the fan violence following the Raiders’ game at San Francisco last week. He said the league hasn’t made a final decision on whether or not the annual preseason series between the two Bay Area teams will be postponed next year. That recommendation has been made.
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