596

Raiders vs. Seahawks: Keys to the game

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Matt McGloin had two touchdown passes last year in the exhibition finale against Seattle. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Matt McGloin had two touchdown passes last year in the exhibition finale against the Seahawks. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

RAIDERS (1-2) VS. SEAHAWKS (2-1)

7 p.m., Thursday, Oakland Coliseum

TV: KTVU (Beth Mowins, Matt Millen, Nicole Zaloumis, John Tournour)

Radio: 95.7 (Greg Papa, Tom Flores, Lincoln Kennedy)

LINE

Raiders by 2 1/2
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2,126

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. Continue Reading

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1,572

Connor Cook ready for heavy workload in preseason finale

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Raiders' third-string quarterback Connor Cook should play a lot in Thursday's preseason game against Seattle. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Raiders’ third-string quarterback Connor Cook should play a lot in Thursday’s preseason game against Seattle. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Expect to see a healthy dose of quarterback Connor Cook when the Raiders close out the exhibition schedule Thursday in the Coliseum against the Seattle Seahawks.

The fourth-round pick will likely enter the game at some point in the first half and play the entire second half as Oakland puts on its final preseason show before the regular season begins Sept. 11.

Backup quarterback Matt McGloin is expected to start the game with starter Derek Carr watching comfortably from the sidelines. Continue Reading

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56

Three Raiders who helped themselves against Packers

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Oakland Raiders linebacker Shilique Calhoun had his first NFL sack. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Oakland Raiders linebacker Shilique Calhoun had his first NFL sack. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Shilique Calhoun

 The third-round pick from Michigan State will get his fill of playing time this year and started showing some of his natural ability in this game.

He did a solid job setting the edge a couple of times and in the fourth quarter got in to the backfield for his first NFL sack. On the play, he rushed free off the left side, changed directions along with Packers quarterback Marquise Williams and wrapped his paws around him for the sack. Continue Reading

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1,649

Connor Cook locked in during solid Raiders’ debut

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Connor Cook was solid during his NFL debut for the Raiders on Friday night. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Connor Cook was solid during his NFL debut for the Raiders on Friday night. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Connor Cook was locked onto his task.

The Raiders’ third-string quarterback made his NFL debut in Friday’s 31-10 exhibition win over the Arizona Cardinals. Oakland’s fourth-round pick, Cook completed 7 of 11 passes for 71 yards, numbers that would’ve been even better if an offensive pass interference call hadn’t wiped out a long completion to K.J. Brent. Continue Reading

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682

Five Raiders to watch in exhibition opener vs. Cardinals

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Second-round pick Jihad Ward is a Raiders player to watch Friday night. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Second-round pick Jihad Ward is a Raiders player to watch Friday night. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Raiders opened last preseason by using their first drive to feed their new hog. Then rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper had four offensive touches on the opening possession.

That doesn’t figure to be the case Friday with their latest first-round pick, as safety Karl Joseph is likely to sit out when the Raiders kick off against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Continue Reading

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561

Connor Cook making progress despite some shaky camp performances

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Despite some rough patches, the Raiders like what they're seeing from Connor Cook. (AP photo)

Despite some rough patches, the Raiders like what they’re seeing from Connor Cook. (AP photo)

NAPA — The Raiders haven’t played a preseason game yet, but their quarterback hierarchy already seems to have clarity behind starter Derek Carr.

For Connor Cook, their fourth-round pick out of Michigan State, that means he’s looking up at the generously listed 6-foot-1 Matt McGloin.

The Raiders traded up in the draft to take Cook with the second pick of the fourth round, a move that seemed to threaten McGloin’s status. The Raiders even had Cook, with his prototypical 6-foot-4 frame, open their June minicamp getting some second-team repetitions. He’s making some slow progress, but has shown he has a lot of work ahead of him.

“Rookie quarterbacks in training camp, … they always hit a stretch of the offseason or training camp where they kind of get their sea legs underneath them,” Raiders quarterbacks coach Todd Downing said. “Connor’s had some of those moments. But what’s very impressive about him is that he bounces back from struggles. Continue Reading

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720

Raiders training camp roster breakdown: Quarterbacks

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Connor Cook has some work to do to earn a shot as the No. 2 quarterback. (AP photo)

Connor Cook has some work to do to earn a shot as the No. 2 quarterback. (AP photo)

Players report today so it’s time to wrap up this series with part 10 as we look at the quarterbacks on the Raiders’ training camp roster.

The Raiders go into year three of the Derek Carr era. The former Fresno State star is looking to build off two seasons that, in terms of touchdown passes, has been surpassed only by Dan Marino. And boy is that a comforting place for this organization to be.

Carr might not be the perfect quarterback yet. His final five games of last season — 56.4 percent completion, 218.4 yards per game, eight touchdowns, seven interceptions — exposed some issues. Carr has the gunslinger gene in him and he likes to take changes, which sometimes can hurt him.

But if you look at Carr as a whole, especially compared to what the quarterback position has been like for the past decade-plus, the Raiders are in good shape. If Carr builds off what he’s done through two seasons and continues to improve, printing playoff tickets could start happening. Continue Reading

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1,195

Right tackle, backup quarterback will be highlights of training camp position battles

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Matt McGloin and Connor Cook expect to battle at backup quarterback. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Matt McGloin and Connor Cook expect to battle at backup quarterback. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The Raiders won’t have a ton of position battles when training camp begins in late July, but right tackle and backup quarterback might be the biggest.

Menelik Watson and Austin Howard shared most of the repetitions at right tackle during minicamp. The two battled last year with Watson having the edge until suffering a ruptured Achilles in the preseason and he seems to again have the slight edge.

Howard has the benefit of more experience, having started 62 games over the past four season. Watson, by comparison, has just 12 career starts thanks to missing last year due to injury.

The backup quarterback battle figures to generate plenty of training camp chatter simply because quarters always generate chatter.

The Raiders showed they want to give Connor Cook a true look when they opened minicamp Tuesday giving him some of the second-team repetitions alongside incumbent Matt McGloin. But that didn’t last long, with McGloin taking all the second-team turns the past two days.

Cook was not impressive during these past three days. His passes wobbled at times, at others they sailed and he generally did not look like a confident and accurate passer. The accuracy isn’t a major surprise since he was not a high completion percentage passer at Michigan State. .

It’s way too early to judge Cook, but he’ll likely need to make a significant jump by training camp to have a real chance to supplant McGloin as the backup.

At the two return positions, Taiwan Jones and TJ Carrie will go into camp with the best chance of retaining their spots.

Fifth-round pick DeAndre Washington has been getting work at kick returner along with undrafted free agent receivers Joe Hansley and Jaydon Mickens, both of who also got work at punt returner.

Special teams coordinator Brad Seely was somewhat contradictory when talking about how he views those spots.

“I don’t think there’s any leader,” Seely said initially before adding, ” You have to start with TJ Carrie because he’s been there on the punt returns. Then you have to start with Taiwan on the kickoff return, who did a really good job for us last year. As always, as we tell those young guys or new guys, that they have to beat somebody out if they want to get that job. We have a lot of guys working, a lot of guys working hard. We’ll see once we start playing games, who does well.”

Amari Cooper returned a few punts last year and it didn’t go all that well, but Seely wouldn’t rule out using him again if the situation called for it.

“I think we’ll do whatever we have to do to help our football team,” Seely said. “If he can help us, just like last year he had to come in there in certain situations, we played him. I think we’re also going to be smart. Obviously, he’s such a talent as a wide receiver. We want to pick and choose those spots, but he’s working and catching. It depends on the situation. If the situation arises where we need him, we’ll use him.”

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3,543

What they’re saying: Evaluating Raiders’ draft class

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The Raiders received grades mostly in the B range for their draft that opened with the selection of safety Karl Joseph. (West Virginia athletics photo)

The Raiders received grades mostly in the B range for their draft that opened with the selection of safety Karl Joseph. (West Virginia athletics photo)

The Raiders drafted seven players — one in each round after dealing their own fifth-round pick — over the three days of this weekend’s NFL Draft.

It started with safety Karl Joseph on Thursday, continued with DE Jihad Ward, LB Shilique Calhoun, QB Connor Cook, RB DeAndre Washington, LB Cory James and OL Vadal Alexander over the next two days.

The draft addressed two of the most pressing needs by grabbing a starting safety and a change of pace running back. The Ward pick will have to be evaluated later to see if he can make an immediate impact — you need that from a second round pick. Calhoun seems like a nice addition as an extra pass rusher. Cook could give you a decent backup quarterback and somebody to step in if something were to happen to Derek Carr, James is probably going to be a special teams player who may see the field on defense if he develops quickly and Alexander is good value in the seventh round. That’s my view, but let’s take a look at what the national media is saying. Continue Reading

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