The New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders will meet in Week 2 of the preseason as we continue the march to the regular season.
As a way to preview the matchup, we sat down with Chase Ruttig from Just Blog Baby, Fansided’s Oakland Raiders blog, and exchanged some questions about both teams. Make sure you give Ruttig and his Raiders crew a follow on Twitter. Here’s what Chase had to say.
1. How much can Saints fans expect to see of Terrelle Pryor? He’s versatile enough that it could cause the defense some headaches as the unit transitions to a 3-4 which had its serious struggles last week. Good opportunity for Pryor?
In the Raiders preseason opener against Dallas we saw around one quarter each for the Raiders four quarterbacks in Flynn, Pryor, and rookies Matt McGloin and Tyler Wilson. If I was to take a guess we will be seeing less playing time for the third string and fourth string quarterbacks and more of a showcase of Flynn and Pryor as Dennis Allen tries to figure out which route he will go with at starting QB.
Pryor is seeing a pull from Raider Nation to start him even more now that Left Tackle Jared Veldheer will be missing a huge chunk of games to start the season with a torn tricep as his mobile ability arguably gives him more of a chance to make something happen on a broken pass blocking play. As for giving the Saints defense headaches that is a fair assessment if you look at the Saints aforementioned scheme change as well as Pryor’s strong performance against Dallas. It is a good chance for Pryor to make the QB battle interesting to end the preseason, I fully expect him to score at least one touchdown for the Raiders on Friday if not multiple scores.
2. As you’re aware, Saints fans are pretty familiar with Tracy Porter. Are we going to see a lot of him in the game? What role does he play over the course of the season?
Porter will likely earn reps with the first string if he is active and at the moment is expected to be relied on by Allen as the team tries to work in the injured first round pick D.J. Hayden in at cornerback. Porter still has something in the tank for the Raiders and I think he will be more than capable in Oakland’s secondary this season in helping the D.J. Hayden era at the corner position make a smooth transition.
3. Fill Saints fans in on the Jared Veldheer injury and what it means for the Raiders going into next season.
As mentioned Veldheer will be out for at least three months. What it could potentially mean is a switch to the read option becoming the primary play for the Raiders under Pryor instead of Flynn is the offensive line can’t give the slower and weaker armed Flynn time to march up the field. Another potential option for Oakland is to move Menelik Watson to the tackle position and use Veldheer’s absence to develop their second round draft pick as a tackle in case the triceps injury takes longer to heal.
For now Alex Barron is the starting left tackle, but if he can’t produce in the job I forsee a drastic change in the Raiders offensive line and offensive philosophy to deal with a now much weaker offensive line missing their best blocker.
4. Drew Brees vs. Charles Woodson is always a fun matchup. Any predictions there?
An interception would be nice from a story perspective, but I don’t see the two veterans staying on the field for long enough for this to become too of an intriguing storyline.
5. Finally, any sleeper guys Saints fans should be on the lookout for?
On defense rookie Sio Moore is becoming a beast at outside linebacker with the first team and sacked Tony Romo in his first NFL appearance last Friday so look out for him. On offense third string QB Matt McGloin, an undrafted free agent out of Penn State has been impressing since minicamp and led the Raiders to their win over the Cowboys in the second half and will likely once again be the main second half guy under center so he will be a good sleeper to watch once he steps onto the field as he is becoming a favorite to make the team over fourth round pick Tyler Wilson.
During the regular season I would have to wisely take the Saints to win this game at home, but with how hungry the Raiders reserves trying to make the team are right now and the little dropoff in talent between first, second and third string with abundant position battles the Raiders look competitive. They might struggle when Drew Brees is on the field due to their poor pass rush and lack of a defensive line with many key injuries still being nursed, but the intensity of the Raiders roster from the top to the bottom of their Depth Chart makes me feel that Oakland can win this game in a similar fashion to the Cowboys game. 24-17 Raiders win.
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