GMs John Schneider and Reggie McKenzie have a long history together from their time in Green Bay. Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton worked under Pete Carroll for years, including in Seattle. Oakland also has former Seahawks Bruce Irvin, Cooper Helfet, and of course there’s no more notable “former Seahawk” in the league than Marshawn Lynch. Seattle fans also have a lot of interest in Obi Melifonwu, Michael Crabtree, Derek Carr, and what it’s like to have an elite offensive line. On the flipside, Raiders fans can get reacquainted with Neiko Thorpe and Dewey McDonald perhaps, but I’m sure they’re more interested in seeing Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, and getting a glimpse at what it’s like to have a defense.
Unfortunately this is preseason Week 4 and none of the above matters. At all.
Thursday’s match between Oakland and Seattle will be one day short of the one year anniversary of the last time they played in preseason Week 4. On September 1, 2016, the Seahawks beat the Raiders 23-21 and each team went about their merry ways to the regular season. Here are some statistical highlights from the game:
- Connor Cook played the most of any QB by far, going 15-of-30 for 145 yards (4.8 Y/A), 0 TD, 1 INT, and a rating of 50.
- Cook’s Y/A was still higher than Jake Heaps’ at 4.5. Trevone Boykin went 7-of-15 for 72 yards (4.8 Y/A). There wasn’t a touchdown pass thrown in the game by either team.
- Russell Wilson went 1-for-3 and Carr didn’t play.
- Christine Michael, Thomas Rawls, and C.J. Prosise combined to carry the ball eight times for 12 yards.
- DeAndre Washington had the most carries for Oakland, taking it 11 times for 14 yards.
- The star for the Raiders on offense was George Atkinson III, who carried it seven times for 56 yards and a touchdown.
- Atkinson was released two days later.
- Troymaine Pope carried it eight times for 52 yards and a touchdown.
- Pope was released two days later.
- You didn’t see Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, or Jimmy Graham. And for good reason. Trust me, I’m not saying that these players should be playing.
- Joe Sommers led the Seahawks in receiving with two catches for 42 yards. How many readers (understandably) have never heard that name before?
- Seattle players who had a catch and made the team include Luke Willson (1 for 23 yards), Brandon Williams (2 for 15), Prosise (1 for 4), and Collins (1 for 0 yards).
- Leading tacklers for the Seahawks (more than two tackles) include Kache Palacio, Keenan Lambert, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Brock Coyle, Steven Terrell, Tye Smith, and Tyvis Powell. The only regular season starters to even have one tackle were Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, and Frank Clark.
- Thorpe had three tackles and a pass deflection for Oakland, so the player Seattle evaluated and liked the most in the game may have been one playing for the other side. And maybe that’s the most valuable thing to come out of preseason Week 4.
Ultimately what you can expect in Thursday’s game is a sloppy offensive/defensive performance by the backups — and the backups of the backups who will be free agents by Saturday — on the Seahawks and Raiders’ rosters. Trevone Boykin/Austin Davis vs Connor Cook/EJ Manuel. No Lynch reunion. No more risking the stars. I mean, I’m not even sure you can risk Chris Carson anymore at this point.
Who would’ve thought I’d ever be writing that sentence in late August?
Without the 75-man cutdown between Week 3 and 4, there’s even more bottom-roster depth to play this week as well. Frankly, I’m not sure that preseason Week 4 needs to exist any more. I’m not necessarily an advocate for getting rid of the entire preseason, but the first and last game seem more useless than the middle two, and the final game really has little in terms of entertainment value and interest. Even the coaches of some teams must get bored by the second quarter. The position battles are basically finished by now, not even the jockeying for depth can move the needle that much in a game against guys who will be released over the weekend.
Sure, it’s football. But it’s not great football and it won’t decide much, if anything. Luckily, we only have one more week until it all counts, and everything matters and Russell Wilson & Earl Thomas won’t be taking any snaps off.