There were of course some ugly things Friday night in the Raiders’ 28-20 exhibition loss to the Saints in New Orleans.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees carved up the Raiders defense early, marching his team to a 17-0 first-quarter lead that was soon extended to 23-0. The Raiders looked defenseless against Brees, who completed 14 of his 18 throws for 202 yards and a touchdown.
But perhaps even uglier -- and more concerning to Oakland -- was the play of the Raiders offensive line.
A unit already under stress allowed seven sacks for 42 yards in losses, raising concerns that the Oakland quarterbacks in 2013 may be running for their lives. Five of those sacks came in the first half.
This week, the Raiders learned standout left offensive tackle Jared Veldheer would be lost for at least half the season -- and perhaps longer -- because of a partially torn triceps. Already, the Raiders were concerned that both guard positions were still in flux and that second-round draft pick Menelik Watson (who, it was hoped, would compete for playing time) still hasn’t been able to make an impression at offensive tackle because of an injured calf that has kept him off the practice field for almost all of training camp.
On the Raiders third possession of the night, starting quarterback Matt Flynn was sacked twice, forcing a point. Then early in the second quarter, already trailing 20-0, another Raiders possession was squashed by consecutive sacks on Flynn. Flynn was sacked again on the very first play of the Raiders’ next possession, but Flynn -- who actually put up some good numbers when he was able to put the ball in the air (12-of-16 for 124 yards without an interception) was able to lead his team on a long touchdown drive that culminated in an 18-yard pass to Denarius Moore.
As one Raiders fan noted on Twitter, as he watched the Saints collect sack after sack: “Raiders o-line needs help. Watson & Veldheer need to get healthy fast.”
Flynn’s performance, even under duress, cemented his status as the team’s No. 1 quarterback Friday night. Terrelle Pryor was largely ineffective, undrafted rookie Matt McGloin was so-so late in the game and fourth-round draft choice Tyler Wilson didn’t get off the bench.
But it’s obvious that the Raiders’ offense isn’t going to go anywhere this coming season until the offensive line can start protecting the QB.