The preseason game between the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints on Friday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be a homecoming of sorts for several Raiders — including coach Dennis Allen.
The 40-year-old Allen, who is in his second season, was an assistant on Sean Payton’s staff from 2006-10 — working his way up from assistant defensive line coach to secondary coach in his five seasons.
Allen’s roster includes four players with Louisiana ties: former LSU quarterback Matt Flynn, Port Allen native and former Saints cornerback Tracy Porter, former Catholic High running back Jeremy Stewart, and linebacker Eric Harper, a New Orleans native and Grambling standout.
Flynn and Porter, of course, have lasting memories of the Superdome. Flynn led LSU to the 2007 BCS title in the building, while Porter, who played for the Saints from 2008 to 2011, helped them win Super Bowl XLIV.
One of the bigger question marks in late July is a little clearer after three weeks of training camp, which officially came to a close Thursday.
Payton said left tackle Charles Brown, who is trying to earn the spot vacated by two-time Pro Bowl pick Jermon Bushrod, has been consistent throughout camp.
“I think he has been pretty good,” Payton said. “That’s one of those positions where no news is pretty good news. He’s playing well. It’s been encouraging, but it’s still early on in the preseason. He’s certainly ahead of the other guys.”
Breaston to get work
Payton said wide receiver Steve Breaston, who did not get any offensive snaps after being signed just four days before last week’s preseason opener, will see some action against the Raiders.
“He’s going on his second week now, so there is a role for the snaps he’ll play,” Payton said. “You will see a lot of Kenny (Stills) and Nick (Toon), especially with the first group. A lot of these receivers will get chance to play, but we’ll get (Breaston) in there.”
Stills hears it
Stills said his goal going for his second NFL game is to play mistake-free after he dropped a pass and fumbled the ball on an end around last week.
Stills did make a difficult 22-yard catch, but still heard from his father, former NFL player Kenny Stills Sr., about the miscues.
“He just said it was unacceptable to drop a ball and that I’m lucky I have a few more opportunities to prove myself,” said the younger Stills, a fifth-round draft pick.
When asked if he got any tips from his dad during the conversation, he said, “No, it was very short and sweet.”
Sitting it out
In his post-practice news conference Thursday, Payton said linebackers Junior Galette and Jonathan Vilma, who has his knee scoped, and wide receiver Marques Colston won’t play against the Raiders.
Other that are likely to sit out are linebackers Curtis Lofton, Martez Wilson and Chris Chamberlain — who all missed Thursday’s practice.
Small to appear
Former Saints wide receiver Torrance Small will meet with fans at the Saints Hall of Fame Museum, which is located at Gate B on the Plaza level of the Superdome, between 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Friday.
Admission to the museum is free for ticketholders.