ad-fullscreen

5 things to watch in Thursday night’s Raiders-Seahawks game

Updated August 30, 2017 - 10:43 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — There is something problematic about the new, loosened celebration rules the NFL unveiled this offseason.

The league now allows celebrations on the ground, such as snow angels or kayaking. Group demonstrations like posing while someone mimes a camera shoot are permitted. The football can be used as a prop, tossed like a basketball or cradled like a newborn.

But to recognize the preseason ending, no celebration is enough.

The Raiders will conclude their four-part exhibition schedule Thursday against the Seattle Seahawks at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. It would be an overstatement to say this action between reserves will have much sway on the Raiders’ 53-man roster. This is, however, a final impression for players to earn a practice-squad spot or catch an eye elsewhere in the league.

Those largely are the stakes.

Here are five things to watch.

Unexpected sleep

For anyone without a stake in the action, it’s probably not a good idea to track the 7 p.m. game on the radio.

At least, not while operating heavy machinery.

In the days before the fourth exhibition, teams traditionally are required to reduce their 90-man roster to 75 players. The NFL removed that initial cutdown this offseason, so the Raiders and Seahawks will carry more fat on their roster into Thursday than usual. This logistically makes it easier for teams to withhold key players from action, thereby decreasing both the caliber of football and likelihood of an awake general audience.

That isn’t to say this game is without importance to players and coaches.

To a casual fan, however, the affair could prove a snoozer. Consume responsibly.

Special teams

Safety Keith McGill is recovering from foot surgery. The last time fullback Jamize Olawale played, he left the field slamming his left fist into his left quadriceps after the muscle apparently tightened during a 56-yard run Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys.

McGill is not expected to be available Week 1. Olawale should be.

Aside from those two, the roster largely features a new outfit of special teamers blocking and chasing down kicks, and they can use all the reps they can get.

A case can be built that fourth down is of more interest Thursday than what happens on first, second or third. Special teams is often the tie-breaker for decision makers when determining who makes a roster or practice squad. How the Raiders’ youth seizes the opportunity should be monitored closely.

Manuel versus Cook

OK, that might be too strong.

“Versus” suggests a competition, and for weeks, this hasn’t been much of one. The Raiders clearly favored EJ Manuel over Connor Cook during training camp for their No. 2 quarterback job. Seeing them play now against this level of competition figures to do little to alter that.

This still is a signicant evening for Manuel and Cook.

If the Raiders have their way, the throws they make Thursday will be their final ones in a game situation all year. Manuel is 15 of 25 for 131 yards and has a 73.9 quarterback rating this preseason. Cook is 28 of 52 for 254 yards and a touchown. He owns a 73.7 rating.

Ideally, all passes from behind center should be quarterback Derek Carr’s from here on out.

Division III linebacker

Nicholas Morrow has come a long way with the Raiders. He just needs to come a little further.

The former star safety at Greenville College (Illinois) has adapted to an absurd jump in competition and a new position as a dime linebacker. He was one of the club’s better stories in camp, and he appears to have a legitimate shot at the 53-man roster — or at least the initial one.

The Raiders are expected to be active when pursuing linebacker help from outside the organization. Often, a team makes changes between the time it pares down to 53 and the several days afterward when it plays in Week 1.

In other words, a player who thinks he made the roster learns afterward he didn’t.

That possibility shouldn’t matter to anyone on the field Thursday.

Morrow can puctuate his impressive campaign on defense and special teams.

Last shot

Certain players on the field Thursday never will be invited to an NFL training camp again. They never will make an NFL practice squad. They never will land on an NFL roster.

For some, this game is the final stand.

The Raiders have a good sense of who they will cut leading up to Saturday’s 1 p.m. roster cutdown from 90 to 53 players. That won’t prevent players from fighting to change their mind.

In some sense, there is increased presure for a player to stand out Thursday. If you can’t on a field of reserves, how will you contribute this season against starters?

“As I told our guys, you want to make the best impression you can for an opportunity here,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “You also have 31 other teams that are going to evaluate the game tape, and you’re making an impression around the league as well.

“I think it’s important to put your best foot forward. We have a good group of men. We’d love to see as many of them as possible be playing. They work really hard. So obviously, we have tough decisions to make when it’s that time. You’re always pulling for the rest of the guys to find a home.”

More Raiders: Follow all of our Oakland Raiders-to-Las Vegas coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

section-ads_high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
Osemele says Raiders wanted to send a message of unity during national anthem
Offensive linemen Marshall Newhouse and Kelechi Osmele explain why some of the Oakland Raiders chose to protest by sitting and interlocking arms during the presentation of the national anthem prior to their game against the Washington Redskins.
Carr on the Raiders intended anthem message, loss to the Redskins
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr discusses the team's loss to the Washington Redskins and what message the team hoped to convey during the national anthem.
Del Rio on players protest during the anthem, loss to the Redskins
Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio discusses some of the players' decision to sit during the national anthem and the team's 27-10 loss to the Washington Redskins.
Nación Vegas: Los Raiders pierden 27-10 en contra los Redskins
Era una noche fea para los Raiders quien perdió el juego 27-10 en contra los Washington Redskins. Es la primera derrota para los Raiders esta temporada.
What statement will the Raiders make during the national anthem?
The Review Journal's Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Washington D.C. and break down what to expect before the Washington Redskins vs. the Oakland Raiders game taking place at the FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
Vegas Nation: 5 things to watch for when the Washington Redskins play the Raiders
Here are five things to look out for when the Redskins play the Raiders on Sunday night.
Raiders management wants family-friendly Las Vegas stadium
When the Raiders relocate to the new Las Vegas stadium in 2020, the team’s management hopes to foster a family-friendly atmosphere at games.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Injuries and Preview of Redskins Game
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken talk about this Sunday's game between the Raiders and the Redskins as well as potential players that might miss Sunday nights game.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Secondary Dealing with Injuries
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken discuss Derek Carr's interesting commercial as well as the health of Raiders defensive backs Gareon Conley and Sean Smith.
Vegas Nation Red Zone Week 3
Bill Bradley hosts Vegas Nation Red Zone with guest Cindy Boren to discuss the Raiders matchup this Sunday against the Washington Redskins and the questions surrounding Kirk Cousins.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart (@kellyinvegas) and Caesars Oddsmaker Alan Berg go over their picks for week three of NFL football and their best bets.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Injuries and Preview of Redskins Game
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken talk about this Sunday's game between the Raiders and the Redskins as well as potential players that might miss Sunday nights game.
Vegas Nation: Lynch Getting 'Hyphy' and Mexico Earthquake Impact
Michael Gehlken joins Bryan Salmond in the studio to discuss how the NFL looks at Marshawn Lynch after getting "hyphy" on the sidelines, and how the Mexico City Earthquake is going to affect the game between the Raiders and the Patriots. They also compare the stats between Derek Carr and Kirk Cousins to see how Carr stands against the Redskins quarterback.
Social Sound Off: Raiders Beat The Jets
Bryan Salmond and Kelly Stewart go over your tweets from the game where the Raiders won their second game of the season.
Construction comes to life at Raiders Stadium site in Las Vegas
Construction activity is coming to life at the Raiders Stadium site in Las Vegas. Heavy vehicles, cranes and water trucks were visible at the site at Russell Road and Dean Martin Drive, just west of Interstate 15. A formal groundbreaking for the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium is expected in late November. Plans indicate the stadium will be 225 feet tall with 10 levels. It is also expected to gave a see-through video wall.
Mack, Joseph and Penn on the Raiders win over the Jets
Oakland Raiders' Khalil Mack, Karl Joseph and Donald Penn talk about defeating the New York Jets in their home opener, 45-20.
Carr on how Crabtree and the running game led to their win over the Jets
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr spoke to reporters during his post-game new conference about how special a player Michael Crabtree is and how effective the running game was in their 45-20 win over the New York Jets.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Improve to 2-0 with Easy Win Over Jets
Bryan Salmond, Michael Gehlken, Ron Kantowski and Gilbert Manzano break down the Raiders 45-20 win over the New York Jets, including the party-like atmosphere, Marshawn Lynch's impact on the team as well as another solid performance from the defense.
Nacion Vegas: Los Raiders Derrotan a los Jets
Los Raiders derrotan a los Jets, 45-20. Crabtree tuvo un día espectacular con tres anotaciónes. Lynch hizo una anotación debutando en su ciudad natal.
TOP NEWS
ad-315×600
News Headlines
pos-2 — ads_infeed_1
post-4 — ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like