The final dress rehearsal has come to a close, and with preseason over now it means the next time we see these Silver and Black uniforms it will be the real deal again. It’s easy to see why so many people are calling for a shorter preseason after a game like this, but you can’t say it was completely useless with so many roster spots still up for grabs this year.
The top battle still raging clearly is for the hotly contested final WR spots, and all three of the top candidates had moments of standing out in this game. Those three players are Keon Hatcher, Marcel Ateman, and of course Keelan Doss. Then you also saw some more glimpses of Rico Gafford as well, though he seems much more likely destined for the practice squad.
All three of Hatcher, Ateman and Doss have done enough to deserve to be on an active roster this season even if it isn’t necessarily the Raiders. As far as tough decisions go, I don’t remember there being a tougher one for Oakland in recent years. You have to think that Keelan Doss has a spot locked up after his great preseason all around, but what about Ateman and last year’s preseason star Hatcher?
It’s tough to let any of them go but there just isn’t enough spots to keep everyone so someone has to be the odd man out. In fact, both players could be jettisoned considering the Raiders WR depth already has Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson, Hunter Renfrow and return man/special teams ace Dwayne Harris. If Doss does indeed have the 6th and final spot then Ateman and Hatcher both could see themselves out altogether.
It’s that much harder now though since Ateman had a very good game in Seattle, and Hatcher again made plays when the Raiders needed it most. Most of the time the 4th preseason game is a last hurrah with the roster decisions already made, but that probably can’t be said for this game considering how tight that WR competition is.
Another player who made it very tough on the coaching staff for the final cuts is DT Ethan Westbrooks. Considering how much of this game he played there is clearly reason to believe he is on the bubble, but the guy’s effort was on display the whole game. He was consistently fighting in the backfield, including taking on double teams and he still had two crucial plays with a 3rd down sack and a batted down pass.
The problem for Westbrooks is that he is vying for a spot at a log jammed position, but he has proven capable from the inside or outside and deserves a roster spot. Some times you just have to make room for a player, that seems like the case here. If he doesn’t make the 53 man roster he will be one of the toughest cuts Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have to make.
Then there’s the quarterback competition to back up Derek Carr. Taking a quick glance at todays articles across the internet, you’d think Mike Glennon did something of merit in this game to have solidified the back up position. You’d be wrong. Glennon had a pedestrian performance when he is locked in a tight battle with Nathan Peterman.
Peterman on the other hand led the Raiders down to almost tie the game in the closing minutes with an excellent comeback attempt that fell short. He also is the far more athletic option with Glennon being the very definition of a pocket quarterback. Though Glennon clearly has the superior arm, it seems foolish to roll with a statue over the mobility that Peterman offers.
The only two running backs who made the trip to Seattle both had moments of tough running and showed the urgency you’d like to see from fringe players. As much as I enjoy the way James Butler runs, it’s Mack Brown that gave the coaches something to think about for if they keep an extra back besides Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington.
Brown’s 5.3 yard average (15 carries, 79 yards) last night against a deep Seattle Seahawks roster was an impressive performance and just might have got him an active roster spot somewhere in the NFL. He is a strong runner who finishes well and doesn’t dance too much, he at least put himself in the conversation to make the team after a strong night last night.
Now we wait and see who gets the axe by this Saturday at 4pm ET. There has already been one surprise cut with the announcement that expected starting LB Brandon Marshall has been cut so who knows what’s going on over at Raiders HQ.
It should be an interesting ride over the next 24 hours to see who made the cut and who didn’t. After that the wait will be over and the next action for the Raiders will be the second half of a Monday Night Football doubleheader against the Denver Broncos for the opening of the Raiders 2019 season. It’s been a long wait people, but the start of football season is upon us!