Oakland Raiders: New Season, Same Old Team

Jason CriggerContributor IAugust 30, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 29:  Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders looks on from the sideline during the preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 29, 2009 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Who knew one meaningless preseason game could cause that much uproar.

Typically, the third preseason game is considered the benchmark of where a team is at, in terms of preparing for the upcoming season.

If the Raiders 45-7 thrashing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints is any indication, it looks to be another long season in the East Bay.

Drew Brees picked apart the Raiders defense going 14 of 17 as he lead the Saints offense to touchdown scores on his only three possessions of the game.

By the end of the first half, the Saints led 31-0 and the crowd in Oakland booed the Silver and Black off the field.

Even though this game will be cleared from the win-loss column before the Sept. 14 opener against the San Diego Chargers, it's clear that the Raiders have plenty to work on before their Monday night opener.

Last season the Raiders ranked 31st against the run and so far this preseason it's evident that nothing has improved, even though the team switched defensive coordinators, bringing in John Marshall from Seattle.

In three preseason games the Raiders have been gashed for over 600 yards from backs named Coffee, Hamilton, Hill and Robinson; not exactly names that strike fear, especially with backs like LT, Larry Johnson, Steve Slaton, Brian Westbrook, and Brandon Jacobs, on the 2009 schedule.

As for Drew Brees domination of everything Raider yesterday, not too many teams are able to get Brees dirty. He was only sacked 13 times last year, but Oakland's lack of any pressure from the front four compounded by the lack of blitzing must be fixed in order for the team to have any sort of success in this upcoming season. 

While the 45-7 score looks bad on paper, the offense -- minus the three turnovers and not scoring any points -- looked like it was coming together.

JaMarcus Russell went 12 of 18 for 153 yards, and moved the ball efficiently on his first drive before a sack and subsequent fumble ended the drive.

Let's not forget, Raiders running backs have seen little action in the three preseason games to date, in terms of rushing the football. That's fine, considering the Raiders struggled heavily passing the ball last year, while ranking 10th in the NFL last year rushing the ball.

This preseason the offensive focus has been fine tuning the passing game, which is evident by the 20 combined carries from the Raiders "big-three:" McFadden, Bush and Fargas.

In order to be successful this season the Raiders are going to have to feature the running game, because that is their strong point; but, this preseason will benefit the team in the long run because of the success Russell has had passing the ball.

This upcoming week of practice will be fixing fundamentals and putting in a vanilla game plan for the third stringers and future roster cuts that will take the field the preseason finale against Seattle, so don't expect any of the flash you'll see come Sept. 14th.

Even though yesterday's whipping will raise questions, just remember the Detroit Lions went 4-0 during last year's preseason schedule.

It looked bad but remember, it's only preseason.


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