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Five Raiders to watch Thursday against Seattle Seahawks

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Raiders wide receiver Johnny Holton gets his final chance to cement his roster spot.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Raiders wide receiver Johnny Holton gets his final chance to cement his roster spot. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

OAKLAND — The Raiders enter their final preseason game Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks with a roster that’s well settled.

Some backend pieces still need final decisions, but more practice squad spots are probably on the line than active rosters spots.

Don’t expect to see the starters at all. Coach Jack Del Rio hasn’t divulged that and quarterback Derek Carr said earlier this week he didn’t know if he was playing or not.

But Del Rio sat all the starters last year in the preseason finale and has even more reason to do it this year with players such as Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper coming off Pro Bowl seasons.

Mack admitted part of him is ready to just fast-forward past this game and get to the regular season already.

“Yeah, you could say that,” Mack said. “But I’m excited for the younger guys. Get to see them take advantage of this opportunity. … It’s going to be exciting to see how they make plays.”

Here are five players to keep an eye on Thursday night at the Coliseum:

Wide receiver Johnny Holton: The fifth receiver spot — assuming the Raiders keep five — has been one of the few openings the team’s had to figure out and it’ll come down to the wire.

Holton has been the most impressive throughout camp, especially since he brings ability in the return game. He’s caught five passes for 78 yards in the preseason.

Holton should play plenty on Thursday and a big game could lock in his spot.

“I pretty much want to do the same thing I’ve been doing, just going out there playing football, having fun with my teammates,” Holton said of his approach toward Thursday night. “Overall, I just want to get better than I was last week. I want to improve every day and get better.”

Wide receiver K.J. Brent: Holton’s top competition is Brent, who has the benefit of size at 6-foot-4 to Holton’s 6-foot frame.

Brent had his first three catches of the preseason last week when he caught three balls for 54 yards. He also had a nice 28-yard catch in the first exhibition game that was waved off by a very questionable pass interference call.

Whichever of these players doesn’t make the 53-man roster will likely be brought back on to the practice squad as long as another team doesn’t sign them, so both could be part of the Raiders future.

Quarterback Connor Cook: It’s going to be Cook’s first extended run in an NFL game (and probably his last for a while). The No. 3 quarterback expects to play the majority of the preseason finale and it will be important repetitions for him and the Raiders.

Backup quarterback Matt McGloin is a free agent after this season (and currently the highest paid quarterback on the roster, ahead of even Carr). The Raiders will need to figure out if Cook is their backup of the future and they hope this will be their last real look at him until next season.

“All the stuff that I’ve learned thus far, go use it,” Cook said. “This is time to cut loose and have fun with the guys.”

Defensive end/linebacker James Cowser: The undrafted pass rusher from Southern Utah didn’t see a defensive snap in last week’s loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Is that a sign the Raiders are trying to hide him so they may be able to sneak him on to the practice squad? Don’t rule that out, although there seems to be room on the roster for a fourth pass rusher behind Mack, Bruce Irvin and fellow rookie Shilique Calhoun. Cowser should get a chance to play a lot Thursday and it’d be nice to see him excel against some NFL backups.

Safety Dewey McDonald: The third-year player seemed to be on the rise early in training camp and then it came crashing down in the first preseason game. Keith McGill unofficially moved ahead of him on the safety depth chart and has stayed there.

McDonald’s now sitting squarely on the bubble, especially because another safety in Brynden Trawick has been making plays left and right in special teams. This is McDonald’s last chance to prove himself.

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Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • Charlie

    Look at Palmer’s record that year.
    Almost saved the season??????????

    Add to that what Palmer cost us. Total disaster.

  • We overpaid KO, Hudson and Bruce Irvin.

  • SlvrnBlck478

    Name a FA who isn’t overpaid.

  • Guest123

    Murray’s like the Alex Smith of RB’s. Good enough to get the job done in the right scheme but always leaves you wanting for more.

  • Mike Briesel, Austin Howard

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Point is, it’s tough to predict what Reggie is gonna do. But I think he focuses on defense again next year. Opinion subject to change after this season…

  • Charlie

    If your Oline is good enough you win with running backs in the fourth and fifth rounds.
    What is the average life span of an NFL RB????

    Using a first or second round pick on a RB is a luxury only teams with a solid foundation can afford.

  • I agree with that.
    Certainly upgradeable but NOT EASILY replaceable.

  • SlvrnBlck478

    Can we get to regular season before we start declaring any of these guys a good player.

  • Guest123

    Howard is better than Watson. Barnes was at least competent. Watson is hard to tell because he doesn’t have enough game tape to be even mentioned with those guys.

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Didn’t say he should.

  • Charlie

    No we did not.
    those contracts are front loaded and they expire at an age appropriate with the player joining us.

    Secondly i am talking about RE signing existing talent.

  • Guest123

    already talking next year’s draft? SMH

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Just like a Boss. Always thinking ahead…

  • Charlie

    And Nashville has three first round picks on their oline.

    we had other holes to fill.

  • Malcolm Smith, Charles Woodson, potentially Sean Smith

  • Guest123

    Reggie drastically overpaid Irvin, probably KO too.

  • Guest123

    You taking courses in Scot McGlaughlan’s GM school?

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Reggies!

  • Guest123

    we had other holes to fill???? We needed the backup to the backup QB???? we were that deep?

  • Let’s say Connor Cook has a great game. Let’s pretend Minnesota offers us their 1st or 2nd for him. Do you think RM/JDR would actually trade him?

    McGloin is currently our highest priced QB. Surely he’d be let go next year, and RM would hold onto a cheap Cook — especially as he is far more most starter-like than McGloin should anything happen to Carr — be it loss of form or injury.

  • Charlie

    Still do not accpt that a good oline requires high round picks and a lot of money?

    You spent too many years watching Kwame Harris, Gallery, Grove and Barksdale.

  • Guest123

    Let’s say you didn’t start the day with a good ole fashion wake and bake?

  • Charlie

    McGloin needed a second round tender.
    He makes MORE money than Carr.

    That does not seem odd to you?

    Situation was bad and is now properly managed.

  • Guest123

    high round picks? Name what high round picks Reggie used on our OL

  • SlvrnBlck478

    Some would argue that Sean Smith is overpaid. Hudson & KO were the top free agents at their position and and in their prime, so you know they were going to get overpaid. RM had the cash and structured the deals where there won’t be long term ramifications.

  • Guest123

    irregardless of rookie contract structure that makes Carr underpaid, it still has nothing to do with the overall impact that McGloin’s piddling salary has to the cap.

  • Charlie

    Watson and Jackson.
    More to come.

    Now lets look at the Dline.
    Mack Edwards Calhoun Ward.

    EVERYTHING starts in the trenches.

  • Guest123

    2nd and 3rd rounder….really Charlie, you just mentioned Tennessee using 3 firsts on OL. Are they supposed to be the model franchise? A 3 win team?

  • SlvrnBlck478

    But yet the professional coaching staff, make him the starter. That means he is better then both Barnes & Howard.

  • Charlie

    It has EVERYTHING to do with NOT getting leveraged.

    Look at the Pats, Steelers and Packers. That is EXACTLY where we are headed.

  • Guest123

    oh my! we are so worried about McGloin bending us over the negotiating table for a $2 million salary. SMFH

  • Oak R8rs33.01

    Lmfao.

  • Charlie

    HIGH ROUND picks are rounds 1-3.
    we largely ignored our LINES with high round picks during the last ten years with Mr. Davis.

    You should see the difference now with RM and his LINE focus with high round picks.

    Tennesee has gone above and beyond what I have said is necessary to build lines.

  • Charlie

    Same with Murray, Ellis, Smith etc.
    Our FA flexibility will diminish when we resign guys like Jackson, Carr, Mack and Cooper.

    You need to think about the future in terms of years not hours.

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    AND JUST MAYBE THEY WILL THROW IN AP AS WELL….

  • Raider D

    rashard = slippery, washington = mini bull

  • Guest123

    Wait, there’s an “above and beyond” why are you just telling us now? For years you have tromped out the Miami Dolphins and Larry Czonka and other AFC great lines built by great early round OL picks. Who knew the sweet spot was a single 2nd and 3rd round pick (and let’s just forget that other 3rd round pick Bergstrom since he’s no longer on the team)

  • Guest123

    $2 million salary on a $150 million cap that is growing each year is not a concern. never should be a concern in the 4th round. start worrying about it when we get to negotiating Carr, Cooper and Mack’s deals. Inconsequential for now.

  • Charlie

    I have ALWAYS said high round picks on BOTH lines.

    Art Shell was third rounder.
    Howie Long was a second rounder.

    I learned this stuff when the Raiders were built into a dynasty.
    that approach was the foundation as to why it worked.

    QB’s were interchangeable. great line play was a constant.

  • Guest123

    QB’s were never interchangeable. You know this. Stabler was not just a guy. Not Lamonica, Not Plunkett. You need to have an elite QB to win and build around them.

  • Charlie

    RM is taking this approach with EVERY position group.
    the competition makes players better. It also keeps contracts manageable.

  • Guest123

    The time for prudent contract management was back when we had a mostly crap roster and it was understood we were in “deconstruction”. Now it’s time to let er rip a little and spend our way to contention. Dry period’s over.

  • Charlie

    We won with Lamonica, Stabler, Plunkett and even Marc Wilson.
    From 1966-1983 we won three rings and 75 % of our games with four QBs.

    QBs were absolutely interchangeable.

  • Guest123

    Marc WIlson???? We won jack ish with that turd!

  • Guest123

    Marc Wilson = basura

  • Charlie

    He took us to the playoffs in 1985.

  • R8erEduc8er

    I can’t find the video, but when I saw it, I remember thinking it was a borderline penalty…not necessarily for blocking in the back but it was borderline unnecessary. MEJ was already making the play. Ward had already stopped because the play was basically over and then he got shoved in the back. The lineman could have stopped if he wanted. He just pushed Ward in the back because…who knows. And yes, I’ve seen flags thrown in plays that resembled Ward’s push in the back…mainly because it was egregious and unnecessary.

  • Guest123

    I was there Charlie in the LA Coliseum watching that awful playoff game against the Steelers and guy couldn’t score any points. FG’s and stalled drives Charlie and Marc shuffling out of bounds avoiding pressure and not making plays. 90,000 people collective booed his ass out of the stadium.

  • R8erEduc8er

    Go back and watch the play MEJ got injured on (if you can find it, I couldn’t. Forgot where I saw it.) The refs could have thrown a flag and noone would have made a fuss on either side.