The Seahawks play in their final tune-up game of the pre-season on Thursday and they'll finish up against a familiar old friend. If you're young or just have a bad memory like I normally do, the Seahawks played in the AFC West from '77-'01 and the rest of the division as you see it today was basically the same. (Did you know that the Bengals and Bucs once occupied a spot in the division for short terms before Seattle?)
So sometimes when I look at the AFC West, I do think about the bad old times. The somebodies that we used to know, now having fun without us and I do get a little nostalgic. Except that individually, I don't care about the Chiefs. I worry not about the Broncos. I care little of the Chargers.
No, the only team that I really remember, have a beef with, individually get psyched up for, is the Oakland LA Raiders. The rest of them are the non-Ricky Martin members of Menudo. Luckily, we are playing the Raiders in a preseason game, because I don't really have many memories of beating them. Our record against the Raiders is only 24-29, but it seems like the strongest memories are the ones that hurt the most or at least the ones that get Bo Jackson replayed the most.
Seattle is 1-2 against the Raiders since moving to the NFC, most recently getting beat up 33-3 in Oakland back in 2010. We were so mad about it that we hired Tom Cable and signed Robert Gallery and Zach Miller, which kind of worked out?
And now we'll exact real revenge by playing... most of our backups against their backups? Preseason week four is the least important game for starters and the most important game for those guys that are trying to make the team. The Seahawks and Raiders are going to be generous with playing time for the backups, so make sure you've got your Josh Portis jersey on underneath your Russell Wilson
injury jersey. (What a dumb damn error.) The franchise is probably only going to get a taste.
The Raiders went all-in on quarterbacks in 2011, first backing up Jason Campbell by using a supplemental
second third round pick on Terrelle Pryor and then trading away all of the draft picks for Carson Palmer, who returns to LA after a historic career at USC because the Raiders definitely still play in Los Angeles.
I'm actually not as down on Palmer as most and I think when you look deeper at last season you'll see that he did an admirable job. He had almost no practice before he came in relief of Kyle Boller in week seven and of course he played terribly in that game, throwing three interceptions. Over the rest of the season, he completed 62.2% of his passes for 2,637 yards, 13 TD, 13 INT, 8.6 yards per attempt in nine games. With a team he was still new to, with receivers he hardly knew.
He's not going to be the elite quarterback we once thought he might become, but he's pretty good. What's he going to do with a full offseason under his belt? However, the reunion that Pete will probably see more of is another USC guy...
How big of an impact did the recent CBA make on rookie contracts? Andrew Luck, possibly the best quarterback prospect of the century, signed a 4-year, $22 million deal with the Colts. Back in 2006, Matt Leinart, a quarterback with questionable arm strength and perhaps too focused on Hollywood or girls who had slipped to tenth in the draft, signed a 5-year, $51 million deal with the Cardinals.
Over the last four years, after making 16 starts in his first two seasons, Leinart has made two starts. He's just another in a long list of Heisman Trophy winners that could not succeed at the professional level. (Reminder that in the 2000s alone, the winners include Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Jason White, Leinart, Reggie Bush over Vince Young, Troy Smith, and Tim Tebow. Book out on: Sam Bradford, Mark Ingram, Cam Newton kind of, and Robert Griffin III.)
Not a winner of the Heisman is Terrelle Pryor. He was a candidate in 2010 when the Buckeyes went 0-1 and played in a Sugar Bowl that never happened but.. wait a minute. Something's afoot here.
Of course THE Ohio State went 12-1 that year with a win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl but it was all bullshit because Pryor and some teammates got some butterfly tramp stamps for free or something, I don't remember exactly. Pryor left school and entered the supplemental draft where the Raiders used a second on him because Raiders.
If Russell Wilson were 5 inches taller, his physical attributes might be very similar to Pryor because he's a near 6'5" QB that runs a 40 time that could be as fast as the low 4.30's. That's fast and especially fast for a guy his size. Except that Wilson has displayed exceptional advanced skill on other areas, showing that it's not only size that matters. However, Pryor has had a good preseason, going 13-for-23, 196 yards, 8.5 Y/A, 2 TD, 1 INT and rushing 12 times for 112 yards.
His accuracy has always been an issue and whether or not that can be fixed remains to be seen, but you should get a heavy dose of Pryor on Thursday. After the game you'll be like "Oh my god, I'm soooo high right now" and that's because you took so much Pryor.
Darren McFadden is one of my favorite NFL running backs, but I have no idea why he would play tomorrow. He'd be an injury risk in a pillow fight and the Raiders have a ton of pillow fights.
Lonyae Miller has been the Raiders workhorse back, carrying it 34 times in three games for just 106 yards and a long of 9. He's a thick, burly 2010 undrafted free agent fighting for a roster spot on a team that doesn't have much in the way of proven talent behind McFadden now that Michael Bush is in Chicago.
Eastern Washington grad Taiwan Jones, Mike Goodson, Washington grad Marcel Reece, and former Seahawk Owen Shmitt also make up the backfield. Goodson really fails here to have any connection to us, so I'm not sure what the point of him is?
Palmer and the rest of the QBs will be short on receivers tomorrow. Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford are unlikely to play because of injuries. That's going to give Rod Streater (18 catches, 165 yards) a chance to win the preseason most-catches title, which basically means he can retire and go buy an island as we treat him like royalty as if he had won the Hunger Games. (Really, for an undrafted free agent out of Temple, Streater has overcome the odds and is likely to make the team.)
Volunteering as tribute though will be Juron Criner, who has made 4 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns in his first preseason after being a fifth round pick out of Arizona. (It's hard for me to keep track of all this shit but I believe that the pick used on Criner was a comp pick for Gallery and the pick used on OLB Miles Burris in the 4th was a comp from Miller. You're welcome Los Angeles: Bay Area Division.)
The injuries to Moore and Ford will give some of the guys at the back of the group to win a job, especially if either of those players isn't ready for week one. You'll see a lot of guys named Eddie McGee, Derek Carrier, Brandon Carswell, and Travionte Session. Roscoe's Chicken & Parrish was just signed this week.
All I know is that none of them are Kevin Boss or Zach Miller.
Raiders Offensive Line
One of them is former Husky Khalif Barnes, who has had a bit of a career resurgence over the last year and should start at right tackle for them. At left tackle, the Raiders have a guy that played college at Hillsdale, so he sucks, right? Jared Veldheer would probably play Fezzik in a remake of The Princess Bride though. He is 6'8", 320 pounds, and there's a reason that he was drafted in the third round even though he went to Hillsdale. Veldheer helped become a key part of a line that blocked for McFadden and Bush last year and he can hold his own in pass blocking as well.
He's a pretty good find for them.
But you'll see (and by "see" I mean, nobody is looking at names of offensive lineman in a preseason game or for regular season games mostly for that matter) a lot of the guys that are likely to get cut.
Raiders Defensive Line
Oaklangeles went from 11th in total defense in 2010 to 29th in total and scoring defense in 2011. Their top line player, Richard Seymour, won't play because of a bum knee. Lamarr Houston came into camp twenty pounds lighter and is looking for a career year after recording just one sack last season. Matt Shaughnessy could be better than any of them if he can stay healthy.
The players that you could see the most of tomorrow on the line are Jack Crawford, Christo Bilukidi, Dominique Hamilton, and Hall Davis. Bilukidi is the first player ever to be drafted out of Georgia State, an accomplishment that's not so bad when you consider that their football team has only been around for two years. Also drafted was Jack Crawford, a British kid out of Penn State that went to high school with Harry Potter. (That's not a shitty joke, it's true. I mean, it could also be a shitty joke, but there's truth in it.)
Basically, the Raiders, already short on draft picks, spent two of them on a Canadian that went to a school that hasn't been around as long as Earl Thomas has been in the NFL, and a British guy that had P.E. with H.P. so the only real question is whether or not Al Davis is turning over in his grave at 4.30 seconds per revolution.
No. No Aaron Curry. As far as I know, he's still on preseason PUP with bad knees but I'm an idiot. At least when it comes to figuring out preseason actives/inactives. Seems very doubtful that his status would change by tomorrow for the former Seahawks Defensive MVP. (Come up with your own things for what MVP stands for. Think of FieldGulls as if its Highlights magazine.)
The Raiders lost Kam Whimbley to free agency. Rolando McClain, the 8th overall pick in 2010, is the guy that the Raiders would love to take over as the leader of the defense. This group is probably the one that could concern Loaklangeles fans the most and we might see a lot of those depth guys playing against Matt Flynn and Portis as the game goes on: Travis Goethel, Carl Ihenacho, Nathan Stupar, Kaelin Burnett, and Chad Kilgore.
Goethel was drafted to be an Oakland-area Realtor by the Raiders.
Stupar was a 7th round pick out of Penn State this year, making it the biggest story to come out of Penn State football in 2012.
Philip Wheeler started 11 games for the Colts last year, but he's managed to overcome that and get another shot in the NFL.
The Raiders released Stanford Routt a year after signing him to a five year contract, despite having a career high in pass deflections and interceptions. He was also hit with 17 penalties and is probably an average corner?
Oakland, in a move that seems like it happens every preseason, also has just-released Seahawks DB Coye Francies in the facilities. He's not likely to make the team, but you could see a lot of these guys as the Raiders try to find out who does: Chimdi Chekwa, Matt Giordano, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Mike Mitchell, Pat Lee, Bryan McCann, Curtis Taylor, Brandon Underwood, and Conroy Black.
Giordano is in. He started 8 games for the Raiders last year, which is two more than he had started in his previous six seasons combined. He had five interceptions at free safety. He won a Super Bowl with the Colts in 2005.
Lee was a bust as a second round pick in 2008, but won a Super Bowl with the Packers in 2010.
McCann was an undrafted free agent in 2010 and was cut by the Cowboys before the year. He was signed by the Ravens and then cut. He was re-signed by the Cowboys and then activated on November 4th. Ten days later he picked off Eli Manning and returned it for a franchise record 101-yard touchdown. Seven days after that, he returned a punt 97 yards for a touchdown, second longest in franchise history. He was the NFL Rookie of the Week. Less than a year later, he was released so that they could sign Laurent Robinson. To sum it up: holy shit! If he doesn't make this or any other team then cool story, bro. No, really!
Michael Mitchell has a case for being the most Raiders pick ever. He was a second round pick in 2009 when most people that were there at the draft had no idea who he was. But Oakland liked his 4.39 40 at his Pro Day.
Underwood won a Super Bowl with Lee in Green Bay.
Van Dyke, Oakland Raider, ran a 4.28 40-yard-dash at the combine.
Raiders Special Teams
Sebastian Janikowski was a first round pick. He runs faster than Usain Bolt.
Shane Lechler is a stupendous punter.
That is the end of the preview for this game.