Gearing up for the Raiders second preseason game at the New Orleans Saints, Head Coach Dennis Allen made comments during a Tuesday press conference that will surely be tested in Friday’s game.
When Allen was asked which game would be the best defensive test for his team, he gave the Saints possibly the best compliment he has given an opposing team since taking over in 2012:
“… I do know that the New Orleans Saints have a prolific offense. They move the ball up and down the field; they score a lot of points. So it’ll be a great challenge for our defense, to see where we’re at when we go down to the Superdome.”
Touching a little on the game plan, Allen said:
We’ve got some plays that really suit (Terrell Pryor’s) skillset, and we’ll try and incorporate those plays in our game plan as we move along.”
During the Raiders preseason opener, Pryor showed what looked to be vast improvements over his play in 2012, though it wasn’t a first-string Cowboys defense he was facing.
Playing in the Superdome should be a better indicator of Pryor’s poise, as New Orleans is one of the louder venues in the NFL.
One defensive player who may be able to halt the typically fluid New Orleans offense is Lamarr Houston, who returned to practice Tuesday after missing 13 straight days with an undisclosed injury.
Houston is entering his fourth year playing defensive end for the Raiders and finished the 2012 season with 69 tackles and a blocked kick.
Houston was a second round draft selection in 2010, and Allen hopes this year’s second round selection, Menelik Watson, can help out as soon as possible:
“Obviously, we’re still waiting on Watson. Once we get him back here, I think we’re going to have some depth on the offensive line.”
It may have been easy to perceive the Raiders’ offensive line as weak following a dismal 4-12 season last year, but the squad allowed the sixth fewest quarterback sacks and the third fewest quarterback hits.
Watson came to the Florida State University from England to play basketball, but not long after, he joined the Seminoles football team. At 6-foot-5 and 310 lbs., Watson could be a nice compliment to the Raiders offensive line.
Others that didn’t practice today were linebackers Nick Roach and Keenan Clayton and offensive tackle Jared Veldheer. Defensive end Andre Carter was given the day off.
Veldheer underwent an MRI on his triceps Tuesday. Allen said the team wanted to take another look at it after he was feeling some discomfort. Veldheer went through the same procedure just one week ago.