Last chance, fellas. One more game to show you belong and then let the cards fall where they may. For this one, the Raiders head to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seahawks. And while the game means little to nothing from a win/loss standpoint, it means a whole lot more to some of the players who will be playing in the game.
Here are five things to watch:
1. Bubble battles
I covered this at length in its own post, including several specific position battles that will be waged on the field (which you can see here). Those battles are the main event in this game. You figure between 15 and 20 players won’t suit up for the game. Of the players who will play, more than half of them won’t be on the roster come Saturday. What their fate will be could be decided in this game. That could be earning a spot on the Raiders roster, or showcasing their talent to get a look from another team.
2. OT ready or not?
One of the scariest positions on the Raiders roster right now is the tackle spots. Both of them. The first question is whether Kolton Miller and Donald Penn will play in the game. Both are desperate for reps. Miller is a rookie who has been up and down at the left tackle spot and Donald Penn was absolutely lost in his first game at right tackle last week. It seems a no-brainer they should play, but Gruden didn’t dress Miller for the team’s game in LA against the Rams and has said most of the veterans will not play Thursday night.
Should they play, we will be looking for considerable improvement from last week. Mostly because they won’t even be facing starters and if you can’t handle backups, how can you be counted upon to handle the elite pass rushers in the AFC West? It is vital that they both show improvement.
3. Seabass the Seahawk
Brace yourselves, Raider Nation. You’re about to get a long look at Sebastian Janikowski in a Seahawks uniform. The 18-year Raiders kicker has won the kicker job in Seattle. So, while the Raiders are now fielding
Ted Mike Nugent at kicker because Eddy Pineiro is out with a groin injury, their steadfast kicker of 17 NFL seasons is kicking for someone else.
4. Who sits from the secondary?
Few things are set in stone with regard to the secondary on this team. While every other position group sat their starters in week two against the Rams, the secondary remained relatively unchanged. There are still battles going on there both for roster spots and for positions on the depth chart. If the team sits a player, and it’s not for injury reasons, that’s an indication they have won the starting job or at very least a roster spot. If not, they still have something to fight for.
5. Hidden agenda
Many times in final preseason games, a player will dress, but see little to no time. A player some thought had a pretty decent shot at the roster. That’s because the Raiders hope to waive the player but would like him to slip through waivers so they can place him on the practice squad. The last thing they want in this instance is to give that player more visibility and run the risk of that player being scooped up by another team.