The preseason is done and the cuts are coming in fast and furious to get from 90 players to 53. Many of the cuts have already been reported and others will come in shortly after this article is posted. Others will happen after the initial 53 and waiver claims are made.
Regardless of whether the players made the Raiders roster, they were not just auditioning for the Raiders in this game. They were trying to put something positive on tape for the other 31 teams as well. Here are those who showed well for themselves and those who did not.
Coming out of the shadows was Mack Brown. He has been the low man on the totem pole all camp and preseason and showed up to play Thursday night in Seattle. It was too little too late for him to make the Raiders roster, but he went out with a bang.
What he put on tape for other teams was 79 yards rushing on 15 carries (5.3 yards per carry). Brown had consecutive runs in the first quarter of 6 and 17 yards and then picked up the first down on 4th and one. That drive went all the way to the one-yard line before stalling on 4th and goal.
In the second quarter, Brown started off a drive with an 18-yard run that ended with a missed field goal.
In the third quarter, the Raiders were finally able to convert a score on a drive with Brown in a running back. That drive he had a 6-yard run on third and one followed by a 6-yard catch to set up a chip shot field goal. Then early in the 4th he had his longest run that went for 22 yards.
Remember last season when Hatcher caught three touchdown passes in a game? That also happened against Seattle. At this rate the Seahawks should pick him up. Hatcher tied for the team lead with 6 catches for 54 yards.
On the Raiders’ opening drive, he caught a pass in the right flat on 4th and 3 that went for 15 yards to set up a 43-yard field goal. The next drive on 3rd and one, he caught a swing pass for ten yards that put the Raiders in first and goal at the ten.
In the second quarter, again on third down, he set up 11 yards downfield right at the first down marker, but had to dig out a low pass just short of the sticks, but in range of 42-yard field goal attempt. The next drive, he again was the target on third down, this time going for 17. Later in the drive, the Raiders were back in third down and Peterman looked to Hatcher who caught an 11-yarder. Seattle was flagged for roughing on the play, half the distance to the goal, and ultimately settled for another field goal at the half.
Again, this performance wasn’t enough to earn him a roster spot, but it earned him a spot on the Raiders’ practice squad last season and should earn him a spot with either the Raiders or someone this season too. Seattle perhaps?
Ethan Westbrooks, Josh Mauro
The starting defensive ends for this game. Neither are the speed rushers around the edge you typically have out there, but they were the best the Raiders had to offer, so they got the start and made the most of it.
Mauro had the first tackle of the game on defense, stuffing a run at one yard. He got pressure to begin the next possession resulting in an incompletion. The next possession he had another run stuff for no gain. Then for the third possession in a row, he got a a run stuff for no gain. This time Westbrooks set it up with penetration into the backfield.
On two drives in the third quarter, Westbrooks batted a ball down at the line and sacked the quarterback. He added a run stuff in the fourth quarter.
Mauro was only playing because he had missed time with a hamstring injury. He should play this way as a projected starter. Westbrooks was cut Saturday despite playing well throughout the preseason. He was just at a crowded position. The veteran should have no trouble finding work again.
Wilber is not a starter, but he is a veteran special teams captain. What he needed to do was show he can step in a play a good bit of defense if called upon. He too has missed time with injury and needed some work before the season starts. He got some good work.
On the second possession of the game for the Seahwawks, Wilber had good coverage to force an incompletion and stuffed a run on consecutive plays to help lead to a three-and-out. He then ended the Seahawks’ next drive with a sack on a blitz up the middle, leading to a loss of 13 yards and a punt on 4th and 26.
He would add a run stuff as well to finish second on the team in tackles (5). He even had a special teams tackle which is what he does best.
He averaged 48.6 yards per punt with a 47.6 yard net and 2 punts stopped inside the 20. This includes a 61-yard punt. Another fine day for the rookie punter. Even a passable replacement for Johnny Townsend would have been a welcome sight. Getting the kind of booming punts and fantastic yardage they are getting from Cole is a whole lot more.
Last week was a nightmare for Nelson. He was completely torched by opposing quarterbacks over and over. This week I didn’t see him give up a catch despite playing every snap on defense. I’m not even sure he was targeted. Could it be enough of a showing for the 2018 fourth rounder to get back in the good graces of his coaches?