By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, August 30th, 2012 at 11:37 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Ready or not, here they come.
And there’s no way to know how ready the Raiders truly are based on how much their starters played Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.
The end result was an unsatisfying 21-3 loss during which the Raiders reserves were pushed around before 66,157 fans to bring down the curtain on a 1-3 preseason.
“We didn’t play good and that’s significant,’’ Allen said. “It’s the last preseason game and they count for real now. Obviously, with our execution tonight, we weren’t ready for prime time.’’
Seattle scored on field goals of 25- and 29 yards by Steven Hauschka, a 2-yard run by Vai Taua, a 2-yard pass from Matt Flynn to Cooper Heflet and on a safety when Mike Goodson was stuffed in his own end zone.
The Raiders averted a shutout on a 31-yard field goal by Eddy Carmona with 15 seconds left, finishing with five first downs and 101 yards in total offense. Seattle had 24 first downs and 334 yards of offense.
The loss was most disturbing in terms of the bottom half of the roster. It wasn’t hard to envision general manager Reggie McKenzie finding a lot more than 22 names to trim to reach Friday’s 53-player roster limit.
“It tells you where we are from a depth standpoint,’’ Allen said. “We hold everybody to the same standard and we all have a job to do. So we all have to do a better job.’’
As for the Raiders’ starting offense and defense, it was over quickly.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was on the field for six snaps and handed the ball off six times in his final tune-up before facing the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 10.
The final Palmer preseason tally: 17 possessions, one touchdown, four interception, a pair of lost fumbles (by the offense, not Palmer), four punts and five field goal attempts.
“We have all started thinking about the San Diego Chargers,’’ Palmer said. “I have already started watching film on them.’’
Getting the night off was running back Darren McFadden, even though he went through warm-ups and suited up. Also sitting were tight end Brandon Myers and defensive tackles Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour.
Given the limited time the Raiders’ starters played, there wasn’t a lot to chew on in terms looking forward to the opener except the fact that Bryan McCann may have re-inserted himself into the picture as the return specialist for both punts and kickoffs.
McCann had a late 18-yard punt return which helped set up the lone Oakland points, and a 26-yard kickoff return. Meanwhile, recent acquisitions Roscoe Parrish and Coye Francies fumbled their opportunities.
Parrish lost his first attempted punt return and muffed a second, while Francies fumbled on his lone kickoff return.
Called a “bright spot’’ by Allen, McCann also broke up a pass as a safety to help get the Oakland defense off the field, one of the few defensive highlights in the second half.
“I’m fighting for a roster spot, so I knew tonight was big for me,’’ McCann said. “It’s nothing for me to lose sleep over. I played as good as I could play.’’
Raiders defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi started in place of Kelly, played virtually the entire game, and looked visibly winded toward the end. A sixth-round draft pick, Bilukidi will await word of his fate Friday.
“To me, it’s like the reverse of draft day,’’ Bilukidi said. “On draft day, you can’t wait for that phone call. Tomorrow you don’t want anyone calling you on the phone. But I’m confident if I don’t make this roster I’m good enough for one of the other 31 teams.’’
– Backup quarterback Matt Leinart was 3-for-11 for 14 yards with an interception, and No. 3 quarterback Terrelle Pryor was 6-for-9 for 55 yards and ran twice for 9 yards.
– Seventh-round draft pick Nathan Stupar, a middle linebacker out of Penn State, staked his claim to a roster spot or practice squad consideration with 11 tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss.
– Rookie punter Marquette King aggravated a foot injury on the flight from Oakland and did not suit up, leaving Shane Lechler to punt eight times for a 49.6 average and a 43.3 net with three punts inside the 20-yard line.
– The Raiders must decide today what to do with linebacker Aaron Curry, who spent the preseason on the physically unable to perform list with sore knees.
Curry almost certainly won’t be kept on the 53-man roster, leaving the regular-season PUP, injured reserve or release as the options. The PUP and a new wrinkle on the injured reserve list would leave the door open to him returning during the season.