Saints double up Raiders at the O.co 40-20

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Saints double up Raiders at the O.co 40-20

Aug. 28, 2011
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OAKLAND (AP) -- There's nothing like a trip to Oakland to get Drew Brees ready for the regular season.Brees threw for 189 yards and led New Orleans to scores on all three drives he played in the Saints' 40-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night.Brees completed 15 of 23 passes and looked almost as sharp as he did in his last trip to Oakland when he led three touchdown drives in his only series of a 45-7 victory two years ago in the third exhibition game. The Saints used that regular-season dress rehearsal to go on and win their first 13 games and win the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
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"A lot of similarities to two years ago when we came out here," Brees said. "I felt like we were very efficient offensively running the football and throwing. Obviously, there's always some mistakes and things you could have done better. But for most part I was pleased with what we accomplished."The Saints gashed the Raiders for 514 yards as the defense struggled once again in a third straight preseason loss for new coach Hue Jackson. Oakland allowed 297 yards passing to Arizona in the opener, 239 on the ground last week to San Francisco and then 388 in the air to New Orleans."Obviously on that side of the ball we have some work to do," Jackson said. "We'll do the work and we'll get it done. As I said a week ago, thank gosh this is not the regular season. We have some fixing to do. I understand that and we'll get it done."The good news for Oakland was the first-team offense played well with the offensive line giving Jason Campbell time to throw and Michael Bush running the ball effectively.Campbell completed 12 of 17 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown, capping his first drive with a 35-yard scoring strike to Derek Hagan.Hagan, signed during training camp, has become one of Oakland's most reliable receivers this summer, catching six passes for 121 yards this game. Rookie Taiwan Jones also shined in his exhibition debut, running for 81 yards and a touchdown and catching two passes for 18 yards.Campbell also drove the Raiders to a 57-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski and had Oakland in position for another score before Jonathon Amaya's interception in the end zone on a deflected pass on the second-to-last play of the first half."You have to do that in preseason in order to see where the lay the ball the next time," Campbell said. "But you have to throw those."Brees' night was already over at that point, doing more than enough in his three drives to allow coach Sean Payton to turn it over to Chase Daniel and the backups."I thought we were in and out of the huddle quicker than we had been and that's something we've always been pretty good at and I thought we were back to that tempo a little bit tonight," Payton said. "I thought it was similar to the preseason game he played here two years ago."Brees was clicking right from the start, finding Devery Henderson on a 37-yard pass over rookie DeMarcus Van Dyke on the first play from scrimmage. Brees targeted Van Dyke three more times in that drive with rookie Mark Ingram capping it with a 1-yard TD run. Ingram fired the ball at the Black Hole sign in the back of the end zone after scoring his third touchdown of the preseason.After Hagan's touchdown tied it, Brees went 4 for 6 for 60 yards on his second drive with Pierre Thomas finishing it with a 1-yard leap into the end zone. Brees had good chemistry going with tight end Jimmy Graham, who caught five passes for 73 yards.The Raiders finally got Brees in check on the third drive after New Orleans moved it to the Oakland 15. Three straight incompletions led to a 33-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley and ended Brees' night with the Saints on top 17-7."We have some things that we need to clean up," Raiders linebacker Kamerion Wimbley said. "Big plays hurt us. We did better in the run game but it wasn't acceptable in the passing game."Oakland took the lead with Janikowski's second 57-yard field goal of the preseason late in the first half, rookie Taiwan Jones' 22-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the third quarter and then another field goal by Janikowski later in the third quarter.Chase Daniel threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Tory Humphrey midway through the third to put the Saints back on top 24-20. The drive was helped by a 32-yard pass to Joique Bell and roughing the passer penalty on Bruce Davis on the same play.Bell also had a 60-yard reception that set up a 1-yard TD run and Adrian Arrington caught a 39-yard TD pass from Daniel to make it 40-20.Notes: DT Richard Seymour, RB Darren McFadden and WR Jacoby Ford sat out for the Raiders with injuries. New QB Terrelle Pryor also did not dress for the game. ... Hartley had a minor hip injury so the Saints went for 2-point conversions after their last two TDs. ... NFL security chief Jeff Miller was on hand a week after violence marred Oakland's game at San Francisco last week and praised changes in security in recent years by the Raiders and the police. "If it works here, it will work anywhere," he said.

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

McKenzie focuses Raiders' 2017 draft on defense, beefs up secondary

ALAMEDA – Raiders general manger Reggie McKenzie made nine selections in this weekend’s NFL draft. That was a requirement given the state of his roster, featuring a stacked offense and a Swiss-cheese defense. It has holes.

He spent significant draft capital trying to upgrade the middle of his defense especially, adding three defensive backs, two defensive tackles and a fifth-round pick in Marquel Lee who will compete to start at middle linebacker.

He needs a few immediate impact players on the defensive group headlined by first-round cornerback Gareon Conley and second-round safety Obi Melifonwu.

“How much do I think I can get out of this group? I hope a lot,” McKenzie said Saturday after the NFL draft was complete. “They’re all going to come in and compete. We’re signing guys post-draft also. We’re going to give them all the opportunity to compete with the veterans that we already have on board. We hope that out of it all, the competition part of it, the cream rises and we have a very good 53-man roster.”

McKenzie follows a draft board thoroughly constructed through hundreds of scouting reports and cross checks, and extensive evaluation at combines and pro days. He trusts it. It has certainly treated him well before, which productive hauls in 2014 and 2015 especially.

While he lost out on some likable players taken before his slot, McKenzie believes the Raiders added quality and depth in previously lacking position groups. He stuck with size and athleticism at times over college production and, as always, beefed up both the offensive and defensive lines.

“I think the way it fell, we got a lot of players, at the end of the day, it looks like we needed,” he said. “We felt like we got a lot of good players with high talent levels from top to bottom. Some are going to be more raw than others. We’re going to have to see down the line, more so. I think talking to the board, you said, ‘Job well done.’”

McKenzie also focused on fixing a lackluster pass defense with speed. Conley can be a shutdown cornerback outside or in the slot. Melifonwu is a heavy hitter who can play both safety spots and is expected to contribute as a rookie. The secondary must improve to prevent big plays and help Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin get after the quarterback.

“You have to have speed to play the game the way it’s going now,” McKenzie said. “You have to be able to play in space. You have to be able to match up. We took all of that into consideration when we brought these players in. To the players that you mentioned, Obi and Conley, both of those guys have great range, speed, very athletic. So, they make tackles in space. That’s one of the things that we looked at. Make sure short to medium plays don’t turn into big plays. I think they will help in that scenario.”

Here’s a full list of Raiders draft picks:

Round 1 (No. 24 overall): CB Gareon Conley, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 56 overall): S Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut
Round 3 (No. 88 overall): DT Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
Round 4 (No. 129 overall): OT David Sharpe, Florida
Round 5 (No. 168 overall): LB Marquel Lee, Wake Forest
Round 7 (No. 221 overall): S Shalom Luani, Washington State
Round 7 (No. 231 overall): OT Jylan Ware, Alabama State
Round 7 (No. 242 overall): RB Elijah Hood, North Carolina
Round 7 (No. 244 overall): DT Treyvon Hester, Toledo

 

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

Raiders 2017 UDFA tracker: McKenzie adds safeties, mining for more gold

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have had great success mining gold from undrafted free agency. Jalen Richard and Darius Latham were kings of last year’s crop, which was six strong by season’s end. with Seth Roberts and Denico Autry other examples of undrafted free agents done good in recent years.

Can Raiders scouts find more helpful pieces from those left out of the NFL draft? Time will tell on that one, but finding the right undrafted players is something the team takes seriously. Scouts revel in undrafted players who make it in the league.

“It’s very rewarding,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “If we sign him as a free agent, we may have had him on the board as draftable, but getting guys post draft, that helps you down the road. To maintain a consistent winner, you have to hit on some of those guys. You have to. The way that the contracts are these days, you have to have some of those type players to help you win football games year in and year out.”

The Raiders will search for those players into Saturday evening to fill the 90-man roster. McKenzie secured some of his top targets with four seventh-round picks, though several more have signed with the club. Here’s a list of those who have signed with the team thus far:

-- OL Jordan Simmons, USC: The hulking offensive lineman signed with the Raiders, he announced on social media. Simmons stands 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, and will turn pro after being denied a sixth year of college eligibility. The talented guard had an injury-riddled career.

-- WR Isaac Whitney, USC: Whitney is yet another undrafted Trojan to join the Raiders roster. He announced the signing on social media. He didn’t have many college stats, but is fast with the size the Raiders prefer in outside receivers.

-- WR Keon Hatcher, Arkansas: Hatcher will reportedly join the offseason receiver group in hopes of taking a roster spot. He had 44 catches for 743 yards and eight touchdowns in his final college season. (Houston Chronicle)

-- WR Ishmael Zamora, Baylor: The Bears official website reported that Zamora will sign with the Silver and Black. He had63 catches for 809 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. He was suspended three games for abusing a dog in an incident that was caught on video. 

-- S Ahmad Thomas, Oklahoma: The Raiders need safety depth, so it was smart of Thomas to sign in Oakland. He was a three-year starter and a team captain. (Houston Chronicle)

-- S Anthony Cioffi, Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights’ official Twitter account reported a four-year starter in college will give the pros a try in Oakland.

-- DT Jordan Wade, Oklahoma: The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle will join the Raiders. (SoonerScoop.com)

-- TE Pharaoh Brown, Oregon: The Ducks didn’t have a single player drafted, but Brown will join the Silver and Black. The tight end announced a signing on Twitter. He had 33 catches for 426 yards and five touchdown.

-- DT Paul Boyette, Texas: The Raiders continue adding volume at positions of need, including this 298-pound run stuffer. 

-- S Rickey Jefferson, LSU: Yet another safety joins the mix, according to LSU's football Twitter account. There will be a battle at that position all offseason as the Raiders try to sort out which players work best in their system. 

 

Check back for further updates...