Tomorrow night the Seattle Seahawks will take a trip to Oakland to play the Raiders in the final preseason game of 2014. While the final score may not count for anything and the starters will probably not play at all, the fourth game means the world to the guys on the roster bubble.
Since the last full Raiders game I watched was the 2002 Super bowl, I don’t know a whole lot about the team, so I decided to talk to an expert and find out more about Seattle’s opponent. Enter James Arcellana, smelly pirate hooker and Managing Editor of cover32’s Raiders site. I asked him some questions last night about this current crop of Raiders. Here goeth the transcript:
TW: How (bad) has Matt Schaub been?
JA: He has been the bad without an added descriptor kind of bad. Not very bad, not really bad, not kinda bad, not a little bad. He has been bad. Part of that is due to a lack of pass protection and inconsistent performance from his receivers and part is because he throws the ball with the same amount of zip as my four year old nephew. That being said, he has not thrown any interceptions and is not constantly making you scream “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?!?!”
Speaking of which, when is the Terrelle Pryor question coming?
TW: Who is this Pryor person? Is he a football player of some kind? Anyway, what about the rookie Derek Carr? When do you think he’ll be ready for QB1 duties?
JA: I think he could probably handle them if forced to this season but I don’t think it’s the best of ideas. He has looked VERY impressive at times but has also given plenty of reasons for concern. He is still learning how to play under center again and his biggest weakness, poor play under pressure, is still a big weakness. He definitely has the potential to be the quarterback of the future for the Raiders, but is raw enough that he isn’t the quarterback of now.
TW: I’ve heard that Maurice Jones Drew is back to his old self. Is this true? If so what kind of role will he have in the offense?
JA: He sure looks like he’s got his burst back. He just has that quickness he had earlier in his career, those first couple of steps that allow him to beat defenders to a hole and cause guys to just barely miss tackling him. There’s a reason the Raiders pulled him after just three touches in the third preseason game, they know all they need to know. He will be the starting back and will have the majority of the touches but probably not by a lot. The Raiders are likely to go with running back by committee resulting in MJD, Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray all getting a chance to eat.
TW: Which rookies have been most impressive on offense? Defense?
JA: On offense it would have to be left guard Gabe Jackson. Even though he has yet to break into the starting unit, there is no question he is going to be a part of the Raiders line for years to come. The guy has been an absolute beast in the preseason, creating massive holes in the run game and holding his own in pass protection. On defense it will be a somewhat surprising name. Rather than first round pick Khalil Mack, it is seventh round pick T.J. Carrie who has been the most impressive rookie. Drafted more for his punt return abilities than his play at corner, Carrie has surprised everyone and is likely to get a good amount of playing time at corner in addition to being the primary punt returner.
TW: Name a guy on the bubble that we should be watching for?
JA: Brice Butler, a wide receiver who spent part of last season on the Raiders practice squad and who has emerged as a weapon in the passing game this preseason. He has spent most of his time playing with the third and fourth stringers, but his play has been top notch. He has run good routes and shown a special ability to make things happen after the catch. He is likely to make the team and with the rest of the wide receivers playing incredibly inconsistently, he may wind up getting some real playing time in season.
TW: Ok, so I know about Pryor. Here’s a proposition for you: can we have that 7th rounder back for him if we throw in a bag of funyuns?
JA: NO WAY! I dealt with Terrelle Pryor drama for an entire year. I’m done, you can deal with him now.