SEATTLE — Raiders coach Jack Del Rio sent a couple of messages with how he handled the team’s final exhibition game Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks, a 31-21 loss
DJ Hayden was the only starter suited up, something that spoke volumes for the struggling third-year cornerback who needs as much work as he can get.
Linebacker Sio Moore could presumably use some work as well. It looked like he might be limited to just special teams action for the second straight week before he finally took some defensive snaps with 8:50 left in the fourth quarter. Del Rio’s postgame comments did little to diffuse the feeling that Moore has reached the first-year coach’s doghouse.
“Guys pretty much get what they earn,” Del Rio said of Moore. “In his case, he missed a lot of time, fell behind. Coaches, I let them play who they wanted to play.”
Moore was Oakland’s third-leading tackler last year despite missing five games due to injury. He missed most of the offseason work and much of the early portion of training camp too returning from offseason hip surgery.
It’s clear at this point Del Rio doesn’t foresee a major role for him and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Raiders try to trade him or cut him before Saturday’s 1 p.m. deadline to trim the roster to 53.
As for Hayden, the Raiders don’t have any better options right now at cornerback and so he played the whole first half. The only other projected starter who played was punter Marquette King, the only punter left on the roster.
“The guys we felt needed some more work, got some work,” Del Rio said.
The backup quarterback battle hasn’t been decided and Matt McGloin again showcased himself well. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
“I knew Christian and myself were going to get the opportunity to play some good minutes together,” McGloin said. “I was looking forward to it and thought we did a nice job.”
Ponder played the first three series and struggled, but came back late in the fourth quarter and led a touchdown drive. He completed 7 of 11 passes for 99 yards.
“I’d like to have a couple plays back,” Ponder said. “The ultimate goal is to win, which we didn’t do, but I think we put some good things on tape.”
The biggest night came from wide receiver Seth Roberts, who caught seven passes for 110 yards and a touchdown and seem to firmly place himself on the roster.
“He’’s done a great job with his opportunities,” Del Rio said. “The No. 1 thing we want to do is create competition, create opportunities for guys to show what they’re capable of. I think he’s taken full advantage of that.”
Roberts caught a 6-yard fade in the end zone where he planted his toes just inside the line. That came two plays after a replay review overturned what was initially ruled a touchdown.
“I want to be a part of this team and I want to be a Raider,” Roberts said. “That’s why I go out and work hard.”
The running game struggled mightily again with just 27 yards on 25 carries. Of course, that came behind the backup offensive line, but it’s a sign there should be concern about the depth in that area.
“Not anywhere near where we need it to be, where it will be,” Del Rio said. “We feel like we’re going to be able to run the ball real well. The last two weeks have not been indicative of that.”
Undrafted rookie running back Michael Dyer had a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, but with little room to run all night he didn’t get much of an opportunity to make his final roster push.
The line also struggled in pass protection. Left tackle Matt McCants was badly beaten on a play in which McGloin was sacked in the end zone by Seattle’s Frank Clark, with Jordan Hill recovering for a touchdown.
Perhaps the biggest sign of why Hayden remains a starter was displayed on the first series of the game.
Keith McGill, Oakland’s No. 3 cornerback, stumbled as Seattle’s Tyler Lockett blew past him.Safety Larry Asante didn’t make it over to provide help and Russell Wilson’s only pass of the night was a 63-yard touchdown.
n Newly signed linebacker Lorenzo Alexander was with the team and suited up, but didn’t see any action. He signed on Wednesday so never had an opportunity to participate in a practice.
n Defensive end Benson Mayowa came out of the locker room at halftime with ice wrapped around his left knee.
n Rookie linebacker Ben Heeney led the team with 11 tackles, his third time in four games leading the team in stops. He also had half a sack.