New Orleans Saints @ Oakland Raiders: Behind enemy lines

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The Saints (1-1) are set to take on the Raiders (0-2) tomorrow evening in their third preseason game. Last week New Orleans was blown out by the Houston Texans, as was Oakland against the 49ers, so both teams should put up a good fight for the win as they seek a little retribution.

Getting “behind enemy lines” we exchanged questions with Chris Shellcroft, the editor of FanSided’s Oakland Raiders site, to ask him some questions about the game and the team he covers.

Chris also had some questions for us, see our answers by visiting the site at this link.

 1) What kind of a season are you expecting from the Raiders?

Considering the Raiders had their best season in almost a decade then proceeded to fire their coach then lose their best defensive player, best threat in the passing game and best offensive lineman you would think they’re headed for a quick return to 11-losses. But we’re talking about the AFC West, a division Oakland owned last year. There are still plenty of question marks with every team in the division therefore the Raiders are very much in the playoff hunt. Anything short of an improvement from last season will be a failure. I expect this team to get contributions from unexpected areas and challenge for a division title.

2) How much playing team do you see the first team defense/offense getting against the Saints?

Hue Jackson’s offense was a strength last year but has been awful thus far in the preseason. Some of that can be attributed to the missed OTAs but most of the blame falls on the coaches and players. I’d be shocked if we don’t see the first team offense on the field in the third quarter. Same for the defense which is sorting out issues with run defense and looking for the young DBs to step up.

 3) Do you expect Jason Campbell to start after his concussion last week?

Campbell only missed one day of practice after leaving the Battle of the Bay in the second quarter. He’s going to start and should see extended time. JC’s timing has been just off and he’s been without his first team offense due to injury. This is going to be crucial game for Campbell as there’s a chance we might not see him again until the start of the regular season after Sunday.

4) What are your thoughts on Terrelle Pryor, the chance he will play Sunday, and do you expect him to challenge Campbell in the future as the number one quarterback?

It was no surprise Al Davis took Pryor in the supplemental draft. What is surprising is how the Raiders seem to be unwilling to let TP play anything but QB. He’s a major project at quarterback but could be a valuable weapon as a receiver be it a tight end or lining up wide. He won’t play Sunday but is expected to see action the last game of the preseason. His first practice showed how far he has to go but you can’t read into too much considering the guy went through 17-hours of travel only to step into the most competitive level of football on the planet. Time will tell but Al’s track record on drafting and developing QBs is about as good as J-Lo’s ability to keep a man.

 5) What has Hue Jackson done this off-season to change the culture of the team after Al Davis’ firing of former head coach Tom Cable?

Coach Jackson brings a swagger to the team that has been lacking. Whereas Cable was a great motivator but failed in utilizing his talent, Jackson is a healthy balance of both. The real story is that there hasn’t been any drama coming out of the Raiders’ camp for the first time in years. Jackson has done a great job of keeping his team hungry and humble. The proof is in the regular season pudding but from a character stand point Jackson has done a great job thus far.