The Saints practiced at Oxnard, Ca., this week are seeking to clean up mistakes from their 27-14 loss to the Texans last week. The Raiders lost 17-3 to the 49ers.
The Raiders signed quarterback Terrelle Pryor on Wednesday and he worked out Friday with the team for the first time, participating in the Raiders final training camp practice in Napa, Calf. The former Ohio State quarterback was selected in the third round of the supplement draft, but will be ineligible for the first five games of the season due to his suspension at Ohio State
Raiders coach Hue Jackson dictated what jersey Tyrelle Pryor will wear with the Raiders. He wore No. 2 at Ohio State, but will wear No. 6 with the Raiders. Last Raiders quarterback to wear No. 2 was mega-draft bust JaMarcus Russell. It's conceivable Jackson wanted to avoid linkage between Pryor and Russell.
The Raiders, inexperienced at cornerback, signed 10-year veteran cornerback Lito Sheppard. He's a two-time Pro Bowler with 19 career interceptions. He played with the Eagles, Jets and Vikings.
Oakland has a decent quarterback rotation and new coach Hue Jackson should have his team more motivated to play better. Actually, its new offensive coordinator Al Saunders that is a master motivator.
Jason Campbell should play at least the first half with the starters, but the Raiders have a pair of proven NFL quarterbacks in Trent Edwards and Kyle Boller. Jackson is resting his home run threat Darren McFadden this week so expect Oakland to pass a lot more this week.
The Saints offense went scoreless in the second half last week after 14 second-quarter points. The Saints still managed more than 330 yards on offense, but turnovers were costly. Drew Brees and Chase Daniel will get most of the snaps and running backs Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproyles and Mark Ingram will move the ball well in this game and throughout the season.
Aside from Ingram, we haven't heard much about or seen much of the rookie class. But that's about to change. With, the Saints having some injuries at linebacker third-round draft pick Martez Wilson likely will get a lot of snaps on the strong side.
Coach Sean Payton said defensive end Cameron Jordan, the Saints other first-round pick, could get a lot of playing time against the Raiders.
"He needs every-down consistency," said Payton. "He's physical and he shows up on the one-on-one rush snaps. He's a guy that has picked up things fairly quickly and yet and the details that go into playing that position on every down is something he has to work on and improve on."
The Saints return home after Sunday night's game and will entertain the Titans in the Superdome on Thursday night. Then, it's onto Green Bay for the NFL season' opener on the following Thursday night.
Saints Practice Report:
Opening Statement from coach Sean Payton:
“These players didn’t practice: Ezra Butler, Tom Johnson, Johnny Patrick, Jeff Charleston, Fabian Washington, Chris Taylor, Aubrayo Franklin, Clint Ingram, Roger Allen, Jarred Fayson, Carl Nicks, Junior Galette, Lance Moore, Joseph Morgan and we held out Sedrick Ellis with a right shoulder – nothing serious. Also, Roman Harper with his left ring finger. Most of today was an Oakland preparation day. Tomorrow morning we well have a walkthrough and then we bus and get on a plane to fly to the Bay Area.”
With Roman Harper out, that will give you a good look at Jonathon Amaya. What do you like about Amaya?
“He has really good instincts. He’s a guy that plays really well in the kicking game. He does a lot of things well and that starts with special teams but also playing the strong safety position. He’s smart, it seems like each day the ball finds him and he makes the play, so he’s doing well.”
There’s a report that Darren Sharper is still in talks with the Saints. Can you comment on that or how you’re doing with the safety position?
“I think we’re doing well. We have to get some guys healthy of course, but we’re doing well.”
Are you surprised with the turnout on short notice?
“Not really. This is exactly what I thought it would be like even though we haven’t been here before. This is a region that has a close-knit community, a real prideful community. The thing that’s unique is there’s over 50 volunteers, much like a golf tournament, that are here to make this happen. They’re lining the fields, they’re cutting the grass, they’re working security, they’re setting up tents, and most of these people on behalf of this city are volunteering their time. You have more than anything else passionate NFL fans than you do any specific team. There are some things that are different here than the last time I was here. With the number of camps they’ve had, there are certain things they’ve tweaked and adjusted to. All the bumps and the little things that come up when you go to camp somewhere new have been taken care of here because they’ve been through it time and time again.”
Are you surprised any more with how much you guys travel the extent of your team’s popularity?
“That comes with winning. You win Super Bowls and that changes. You play more primetime games. You play on Thursday night to open the season three out of the last five years. You’re playing two Monday nights. You’re playing a Sunday night. That comes with it and if you’re not winning you’re playing at noon or one o’clock. I think we have a great fan base. It’s a unique fan base. To try to draw a comparison – it would be hard to. You might make a comparison to what they have in Green Bay. There are some similarities in regards to how big that region expands when you actually evaluate who’s in your stadium on game day and I think that’s the case with us.”
Who will be taking Joe Morgan’s place returning punts?
“We’ll have a couple guys. Obviously we won’t be able to use Joe (Morgan). So we’ll put Montez (Billings) out there. I might have (Darren) Sproles go out there and catch a couple. We’ll use some of the guys more down the line to give us a good look.”
You mentioned Junior Galette is now practicing, can you talk about that?
“He’s limited. A few of these guys are working through some nicks and fortunately for us they aren’t as serious. Let me give you some guys that I think have a chance to play and make it easier: Butler – no, Tom Johnson, Patrick, Charleston, Aubryao Franklin, Clint Ingram, Allen, Fayson – we’ll see where he’s at – I don’t think so though for him, Carl Nicks – no, Galette – possibly, Lance Moore – no, Joe Morgan – no, and then Sedrick Ellis – we’ll see where he’s at.”
With Joe Morgan’s injury, how do you see that affecting him?
“We’ll see. He’s done well and he’s made a good first impression. He has this meniscus that we have to have this procedure done Monday. He won’t be able to play anymore in the preseason, so we’ll see how it unfolds.”
What’s your opinion on the limitation of full contact practices?
“I don’t think it’s impacted us that much. We’re still getting the work we need to get done with the walk-through and the one full-padded practice in the afternoon. I don’t think that in-season it will be that much different at all. We’ve normally just gone pads on Wednesdays and then kind of backed off so I think our guys will be able to work through that.”
Do you think that will be for the better part of the game?
“From the players’ perspective it certainly helps. They look at their longevity and I understand that. I think we’ll work through it pretty well.”
What do you think about opening Thursday night against Green Bay?
“It’s a privilege when you get to play the Super Bowl champion from last season and play in that spot. This is the third time we’ve been in that game in five years. We played Indianapolis in 2007 when they won the Super Bowl and then of course we played in this game last year against Minnesota and now we’re going to Green Bay so that’s something that is pretty important.”
Training Camp must have been on speed-dial with the opener.
“I think you have to be mindful of that date as it pertains to how you play later in the preseason here because it comes quickly. It’s two weeks from yesterday.”
Saints quarterback Drew Brees:
It feels like this week went by in a flash…
“It did go by fast and I felt like we got great work while we were here. I know guys are pretty sore at this point. Obviously now we get 48 hours to rest and prepare for the Raiders on Sunday night in Oakland. I think it’s safe to say we accomplished what we hoped to accomplish by coming here. We were able to really maximize the amount of reps we were able to get, complete installation of both the offense and the defense and really able to focus on some of the important details of the offense and defense. Also, do some extra work that might have been hard to do back in New Orleans with the time restraints.”
How important was it for you guys to complete your installation of the offense and defense?
“That was the point. The point was so that we could get out here, finish our installation and then we could maximize reps. We want to be outside we want to be on the grass. It’s easier on the joints. We wanted to be able to hit and have some really physical practices. Obviously, the fact that we are playing the Raiders it made a lot of sense to come out here and try this venue. I feel like we got great work done while we were in New Orleans and it was great to be with our fans. That heat just takes it out of ya and you are only able to do so much.”
With the third preseason game typically being the one starters play the most, does it feel any different this year with how the offseason was?
“No, we played these guys in the third preseason game two years ago. That mindset was just like this one is. This is the last significant amount of playing time the starters are going to get prior to the regular season. It’s hard to believe but we are going to be in Green Bay in 13 days playing a game for real – first game of the regular season. It is right around the corner. We want to continue to progress as the preseason goes along and obviously improve from what we did last Saturday in our second game because this is the final rehearsal before the season.”
How does this game compare to that preseason game against the Raiders two years ago?
“They are obviously a much better team than they were two years ago. I feel like we have the ability to be a better team than we were last year, two years ago or three years ago. I think that is the goal here – to continue to build this team and develop young guys. We are in position now where I think we are set for a great opportunity with all the pieces to the puzzle we have in place.
“We just want to play well every time we step on the field. If we walk away from that Oakland game and we have played really well, does that guarantee success for the first game? No, but it makes you feel good about where you are at and it makes you feel like you are on track to where you want to be at. If you play poorly then obviously there is a tremendous sense of urgency to say ‘we have to clean some stuff up before we go out and play Green Bay.’ I think there is a confidence level and pride level amongst this team where there is no meaningless game. Even though it is the preseason and it doesn’t count for anything in the stat book, it counts with us as far as our sense of pride and the statement that we want to make every time we step on the field.”
by Ed Staton
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