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What we learned: Saints 40, Raiders 20

Pierre Thomas

New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) dives for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)


After a busy Saturday, we got a chance to focus on one game Sunday night. Some takeaways from the game are below.

If you missed our previous recaps this week, check them out for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday’s nine-game slate.

1. Drew Brees looked ready to go. In three long drives, he led the Saints to a touchdown, touchdown, and short field goal.

2. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham lined up all over the field while catching 5 catches and 73 yards. New Orleans has such great depth and continuity with their weapons catching the ball.

3. The Raiders backfield could be scary. Rookie Taiwan Jones was absolutely electric in his first preseason game, gliding past defenders and then exploding with terrific burst. He finished with 13 carries for 81 yards and a score.

It’s hard to think of an NFL runner quite like Jones. If he can learn pass protection, the Raiders will be tough to stop on the ground. Big if. Oh, and Michael Bush also had a nice night.

4. Well-traveled veteran receiver Derek Hagan may have forced himself into a role in Oakland with 121 yards on six catches, mostly with the first team.

5. Oakland rookie cornerback Demarcus Van Dyke may need to be removed from the starting lineup. The entire cornerback group is thin, but Van Dyke sticks out. The Raiders defense has sprung a few leaks this preseason.

6. Saints kicker Garrett Hartley hurt his hip and couldn’t finish the game. Could we have another John Carney signing in New Orleans?