OAKLAND – The Raiders preseason has, at long last, come to an end.
Thursday’s throwaway 17-13 exhibition loss to the Seattle was the finish line, the team’s last act as a 90-man unit. Rosters will cut to 53 by Saturday afternoon, when the Raiders will pour focus into the Sept. 10 opener against Tennessee.
Coaches have certainly peeked ahead, but they had to get through this game first. The primary goal was leaving Oakland Coliseum unscathed.
Head coach Jack Del Rio ensured that outcome by sitting 42 players against the Seahawks, leaving guys on the roster bubble or certainly cut to sweep up.
Play was rarely pretty for either side in this one, but that doesn’t matter. Most everyone set for a substantial role this season was glued to the sideline.
That included the team’s brightest stars – Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper, etc. – and most of their draft class.
Gareon Conley isn’t ready to play after returning Tuesday for his first practice in over two months. Obi Melinfonwu is believed to be out with injury. Eddie Vanderdoes, Marquel Lee and Treyvon Hester weren’t active to preserve health.
There were a few guys pushing for a final roster spot trying to make a final impression. Nicholas Morrow might have the best chance to make the 53-man roster of any undrafted rookie. The quick, agile linebacker was steadily active and around the ball, as he has been all summer.
Linebacker LaTroy Lewis and receiver K.J. Brent were also under the microscope tonight trying to lock down a final roster spot. Lewis finished the game with four tackles and a sack. Brent, who put together a string of solid practices with the first unit and has NFL side, was particularly good. He finished with four catches for 55 yards.
Darius Latham played a ton Thursday, and continued solid preseason performances that should lock up a roster spot despite an influx of defensive tackles this offseason.
-- EJ Manuel has been the No .2 quarterback all offseason and, as expected, should keep the job this fall. Neither Manuel nor second-year pro Connor Cook impressed during the preseason, but Cook did nothing to disrupt the depth chart.
-- First-round cornerback Gareon Conley wasn’t expected to play Thursday and didn’t, but the Ohio State product went through a strenuous pregame workout with trainers. He ran, cut, and backpedaled into a sprint during the workout.
Conley was taken off the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday in time to practice that afternoon on a limited basis. The Raiders hope to have him ready to play the regular-season opener at Tennessee.
-- Left tackle Donald Penn’s preseason was a short one. He played 19 snaps last week after ended a prolonged contract holdout, and was held out of Thursday’s action. Offensive line coach Donald Penn put him through the paces before the game. Penn is expected to start and play full time against the Titans.
-- Undrafted rookie linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster, didn’t make a great impact this summer but was put some good plays on film. He had four tackles and a sack.