It was simply wonderful to see faces in the crowd, for everyone’s sake.
The preseason is the preseason, it is what it is. But lets take a look at key moments in the game:
Record: The Raiders are 1-0 in the preseason.
What it means: Not much, of course. Not a lot of key Las Vegas players played. I’d pay more attention to what happens next week when the Raiders practice with the Los Angeles Rams for two days before their preseason game next Saturday night. Still, there was some interesting developments that went down against Seattle. Three starters played on defense for Las Vegas.
On offense, first-round pick, right tackle Alex Leatherwood and center Andre James were the only expected starters to play. Leatherwood predictably had both good and poor moments in his first NFL action. I wouldn’t get too excited, either way. He will start and have growing pains. But he should end up being fine.
Raiders' offensive starters:— Tashan Reed (@tashanreed) August 15, 2021
QB: Nathan Peterman
RB: Trey Ragas
WR: Zay Jones, John Brown, Willie Snead IV
TE: Derek Carrier
OL: Brandon Parker, John Simpson, Andre James, Lester Cotton, Alex Leatherwood.
The Las Vegas players who did start Saturday didn’t play much, anyway. Not many Seattle starters played, either, so it’s difficult to glean much from this game.
Starting quarterback Nathan Peterman ( the Raiders’ No. 3 quarterback) looked sharp for the most part. But he is what he is. Backup receiver Zay Jones, who Raiders’ coach Jon Gruden loves, made some big plays. Perhaps the light will come on for him and he can make a difference as a rotational receiver this season.
Undrafted rookie Trey Ragas, who started, scored on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line on Las Vegas’ first drive. Maybe it was a good omen for the upcoming season because the Raiders struggled at the goal-line in recent seasons. Later, B.J. Emmons scored on a running play. There will be some competition for the backup running back spots and injured veteran Jalen Richard could be in trouble.
On defense, fifth-round pick Nate Hobbs, who has been outstanding in camp, had a sack of Seattle starting quarterback Geno Smith and had a strip sack. Seattle challenged the call and it was overturned. But Hobbs still made the play. He’s somebody to watch,
The defense was solid overall. Seattle’s offense didn’t move the ball very well. Sure, there were there some defensive mistakes, but again, it’s the preseason. I wouldn’t worry too much about that. In-season progress from the starters is what will matter most. You could see an improved scheme and flow from new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s system. I’m excited to see the first unit go up against the Rams this week in Irvine.
Players like rookie safety Tre’von Moehrig, second-year cornerback Damon Arnette and free-agent defensive tackle Darius Philon all played for an extended time. Defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Carl Nassib both played extensively as well, which was interesting. They are both key backups at the moment. New defensive tackle Solomon Thomas worked with the backups as he has been for most of training camp.
Cornerback Amik Robertson, a 2020 fourth-round pick, played on the outside in the fourth quarter. He was supposed to be a nickel. He is clearly behind Hobbs and veteran Nevin Lawson for the nickel spot. Maybe impressing on the outside in the preseason is Robertson’s best way to make the 53-man roster.
In the end, the Raiders’ offense and defense was better than Seattle’s for most of the game. What should we make of it? It means the Raiders’ program has been productive for the first couple of weeks of training camp and that’s what you want to see at this point of the summer.
Injury report: There were no significant Raiders’ injuries immediately reported and that’s the biggest win of the night.
What’s next: The two days of work with the Rams and the game at SoFi Stadium with a 7 p.m. PT kickoff August 21.