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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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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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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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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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UPDATED: Raiders trade up to take QB Connor Cook

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The Raiders moved up in the draft to take quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State athletics)

The Raiders moved up in the draft to take quarterback Connor Cook (Michigan State athletics)

The Raiders made a surprising move Saturday, moving up in the draft to take Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook with the second pick of the fourth round.

Oakland is well set at quarterback with starter Derek Carr, but Cook provides them a potential backup of value after Cook dropped into the third day of the draft.

The Raiders swapped their fourth round pick (No. 114) and one of their fifth rounders (No. 154) with Cleveland to move up to the No. 100 overall pick. That moved them one spot ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, who were believed to be interested in Cook.  Continue Reading

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Hayden gets extra work, Moore doesn’t seem to be in Del Rio’s plans as preseason ends

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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. Continue Reading

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