Amidst all the hoopla surrounding the arrival of Terrelle Pryor, the Raiders will take the field for an important preseason battle with the visiting Saints Sunday at the Coliseum.
The Raiders made a big splash in Monday’s supplemental draft by forfeiting a 2012 third-round pick to acquire the services of Pryor, the talented former Ohio State quarterback who left the Buckeyes’ program in June amidst an NCAA investigation in which it was determined he received improper benefits. The 22- year-old would have been forced to sit out the first five games of his senior season as punishment for his part in the ongoing scandal.
Pryor will have to wait a while to make his NFL debut as well, as his entry into the supplemental draft came with the condition he’d also have to miss the first five contests of the upcoming regular season. The athletic rookie is eligible to play in Oakland’s two remaining preseason games, though he won’t be participating in Sunday’s affair after only beginning practicing on Friday.
Jason Campbell is expected to play for the Raiders despite exiting last week’s eventful 17-3 loss at Bay Area rival San Francisco late in the first half with a slight concussion. The starting quarterback completed 5-of-7 passes for 74 yards and was sacked three times before departing.
Campbell and Oakland’s healthy starters are slated to work into the third quarter of this week’s tilt, though the offense may be without several key parts against the Saints. Star running back Darren McFadden remains sidelined with an orbital bone fracture, while wide receivers Jacoby Ford (broken hand), Louis Murphy (hamstring) and Chaz Schilens (knee) are still on the mend from injuries that also kept them out of the San Francisco game.
In addition, tight end Kevin Boss will likely miss the rest of the preseason after spraining his knee in last weekend’s defeat.
Oakland’s depleted offense mustered only 214 total yards and was successful on just 1-of-10 conversion tries on third and fourth down against the 49ers.
New Orleans will be heading to the Coliseum with a few injury concerns of its own, with wide receiver Lance Moore (groin) and Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks (knee) both ruled out of Sunday’s matchup. Strong safety Roman Harper is questionable to play after fracturing his pinkie finger in practice this week.
The Saints began their 2011 preseason on a strong note, delivering a convincing 24-3 win over San Francisco at the Superdome on Aug. 12, but weren’t as sharp in last week’s road test against the seemingly-improved Houston Texans.
Quarterback Drew Brees did engineer a touchdown drive early in the second quarter of the 27-14 loss, but was an off-target 7-of-14 for 109 yards before giving way to backup Chase Daniel late in the first half.
The defense, meanwhile, couldn’t back up an excellent performance in the opener, with the Texans piling up 208 rushing yards and 436 total on the evening. New Orleans had yielded just 234 total yards and generated six sacks against the sputtering 49ers the previous week.
Like the Raiders, Saints head coach Sean Payton plans to have his first-team units on the field for close to three quarters in the traditional “dress rehearsal” game of the preseason.
The Saints and Raiders have met four times previously in preseason play, with each team prevailing twice in the series. New Orleans was a runaway winner in the most recent clash, coming through with a 45-7 triumph at the Coliseum in 2009.