A weird ebb and flow to this one saw the Saints go up 23-0, then give up 20 straight, before rattling off the last 5 points of the game to seal it. Overall the improvements were significant, but there were still a lot of problem areas with penalties and turnovers. It must be said the competition was quite poor and I felt the Raiders as a team look in really rough shape at the moment. They're going to have to come a long way just to win 6 games based on what I saw. It's just preseason, though, so we'll take the win and look to see more growth and improvement in the coming games. Here are my bullet thoughts on the performance:
- Drew Brees was surgical his entire time in the game and Khiry Robinson ended the game nicely by running with authority to ice the lead. Everything in between was mediocre to very bad offensively.
- The protection was largely oustanding save a couple mistakes by Zach Strief, and most notable was an incredibly solid performance by Charles Brown. At this point left tackle can't feel like too huge of a concern as long as he stays healthy.
- Mark Ingram ran the ball extremely well, I thought, but Khiry Robinson may have been even better.
- Ramon Humber and Kevin Reddick both played like authoritative beast middle linebackers. David Hawthorne was pretty good too. The linebackers that got a chance to play more did a good job in this game.
- The defense put the Raiders under constant pressure with 7 sacks, and they held the Raiders to just 2.8 yards a carry. John Jenkins, I have to stay, was utterly dominant controlling the line of scrimmage. That guy looks awesome.
- Glenn Foster also looked awesome. Tyrunn Walker was pretty good again. I said this on the postgame show: there is no way the Saints can let either of these guys go, even if it costs them Tom Johnson.
- Seneca Wallace was painful to watch beyond my wildest imagination. I hope I don't have to see ever again in a Saints uniform. Give the job to Luke McCown already.
- Travaris Cadet had two fumbles, and Robinson's running combined with Preston Parker's impressive special teams ability puts Cadet's job in serious jeopardy now. If the season ended today, Robinson makes the team over Cadet.
- Kenny Stills played very well and rebounded nicely from last week.
- Nick Toon ran a horrific route on a 3rd down play where Brees looked his way, which disrupted timing and caused the incompletion. He did come back to toast Tracy Porter on a deep ball, though, showing deceptively good speed.
- Tracy Porter, speaking of, was targeted and abused the entire time he was in the game. I honestly felt bad for him. It all mercifully came to an end when, surprise surprise, he left the game with an injury.
- Vaccaro is a vicious tackler. He might get beat from time to time in coverage but he does a good job of wrapping up and stopping guys dead in their tracks. Almost like a poor man's Rodney Harrison.
- Garrett Hartley was rock solid on four kicks, all right down the middle, including a 53 yarder he nailed comfortably. He feels pretty stable after that performance.
- Andy Tanner and Steve Breaston were both quiet and at this point I think the receiver position is pretty set and secure. It's Colston/Moore with Stills, Toon and Parker behind them. Those are your five receivers unless injury or a new guy becoming available changes things.
- The Saints' corners still can't catch.
- Morstead rules.
- The Saints had a sick 4th and 1 stop, where Ramon Humber and David Hawthorne destroyed the point of attack, and a sick safety, where Kevin Reddick read the play beautifully and blew it up in the backfield.
- There were a sickening number of penalties. Too many to count or recall specifically.
Offensive Player of the Game: Drew Brees, who lit up the Raiders with a trademark performance. 14-18 for 202 yards and a touchdown. Honorable mention to Khiry Robinson.
Defensive Player of the Game: Ramon Humber. He was all over the field, disruptive both in the backfield and at the point of attack and physical/sound with his tackling. He led the team with 9 tackles and had a sack.
Special Teams Player of the Game: Garrett Hartley. 4-4 on the day, including a bomb of a 53 yarder. He looked great.