By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 at 11:46 pm in Oakland Raiders.
News, notes and quotes from the Raiders’ 27-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks Thursday night at the Coliseum:
– Coach Tom Cable and his staff used the preseason finale as a shell game of sorts, keeping veterans on the bench who were established and possibly even a few longshots they were hoping to hide.
With only a few exceptions _ wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and center Samson Satele on offense and defensive end Lamar Houston and Trevor Scott on defense _ starters took the night off. They came out in uniforms but no shoulder pads.
Scott played exclusively at end, some on the right side, some on the left side.
A hint that perhaps that he’s going back to putting his hand on the ground as opposed to being a conventional weak side linebacker on first and second down?
Cable wasn’t saying.
“I think we’re trying to look at the versatility of a few guys,” Cable said. “That was part of the plan tonight with some of the guys playing the way we did and some other guys not playing.
“Just to kind of improve in a couple of areas, some specific things, and we’ll kind of sit down and look at it all as we get ready to cut this team and get ready for Tennessee.”
– Something’s up with rookie sixth-round linebacker Travis Goethel. He wasn’t present at the game, but Cable wasn’t going into specifics.
“There’s an injury issue, but we’ll talk about all that when we talk next week,” Cable said.
Cable declined to discuss injuries Monday, and wouldn’t even confirm surgery on the left thumb of running back Michael Bush, but must begin listing official injury reports with the league next week.”
Goethel looked to have a strong chance to make the 53-man roster, but if his condition is longterm, could end up on injured reserve.
– With Stanford Routt getting the night of, Chris Johnson started after missing the last two games with a hamstring pull and had a horrific night, giving up four big completions for 120 yards _ more than half of the 219 passing yards the Seahawks got on the night.
Assuming that Routt won the starting job, you wondered if Johnson could have possibly played himself off the roster or if his track record over the past few years would be shrugged off as a good player having a bad night while coming off an injury.
– Darren McFadden probably could have used some more work, but with the probability of Michael Bush missing the beginning of the season with a broken left thumb, he stayed on the sidelines so the running back corps wasn’t further depleted before the opener.
“Obviously there were some struggles with Chris,”’ Cable said. “We’ll just go look at it and we’ll make some decisions.”
– Kick coverage was horrendous as the Seahawks got a 99-yard kickoff return for former Raider Louis Rankin to close the gap to 27-24 as well as a 54-yard kickoff return by Cord Parks.
The truth is, all special teams units aren’t set up until the week before the first game when the roster goes to 53-men, and it’s a big tryout session for most of the preseason, with players being used in different combinations.
Not that Cable was looking for an excuse.
“Whoever goes out there has got to do a better job,” Cable said. “We’re just not getting off blocks in this particular situation. We’ll get all that put together in terms of everybody on the team who will be there. There were probably some people who hurt themselves tonight.”
– Khalif Barnes played the entire game at left tackle after spending most of camp as a reserve left guard. Barnes wants to play tackle, feels more comfortable there, and said he gave up only one pressure. He really didn’t know what to make of all the playing time _ he wasn’t told until Tuesday he’d be playing at tackle.
Could be the Raiders wanted to get him some work at tackle so he’d be ready at both spots. Could be they’re about to let hikm go. Barnes figures he got in some video if it’s the latter.
– Michael Benett rushed for 92 yards on 25 carries with a long gainer of 15. That came after a first half when he carried 10 times and had just 14 yards.
– Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey made the best catch in a game of his Raiders career, leaping for a 34-yard snag from Gradkowski and catching the ball with his hands extended at the top of his jump and getting both feet in bounds. Heyward-Bey also had a key block on a 32-yard screen pass for a touchdown from Bruce Gradkowski, as did Satele.
– Cable played it close to the vest regarding Satele. Veldheer was one of the people who did not play. Unless he’s injured in some way, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a Division II player considered for a starting job to be sitting it out.
– Fourth-round pick Bruce Campbell, on the other hand, played the entire game. He had a couple of penalties but shows a push-the-pile strength in late-game running situations.
– Raiders quarterbacks Gradkowski and Kyle Boller were a combined 14 of 27 for 285 yards, three touchdowns and a 126.3 passer rating _ the second straight impressive week for the Oakland passing offense.
Rookie fourth-round pick Jacoby Ford raced past the defense for a 62-yard reception which would have been a 74-yard touchdown had Boller not forced him to slow down and come back for the ball.
“The idea was to stay away from that safety and get past him,” Ford said. “Kyle made a great throw. I am really starting to feel good out there, coming into my own and enjoying it.”
– Cable said he has a good idea who his return specialists will be, although it was tough to discern from Thursday night’s performance.
Yamon Figures averaged only 2.5 yards on two punt returns and fumbled again. He did return a pair of kickoffs for 64 yards. Nick Miller had a 24 yard kickoff return and a diving 16-yard touchdown catch from Boller.
– Todd Watkins didn’t get in the game at wide receiver but played on special teams.
– Tonga made his final statement with the screen pass for a touchdown.
– Other than the kickoff coverage, Cable was most dismayed with penalties _ the Raiders had 11 for 99 yards.