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News

Game Preview: Raiders vs. Seahawks

Posted Aug 28, 2014

The Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks at O.co Coliseum in Preseason Week 4 action.

The Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks at O.co Coliseum in the team’s final preseason match-up of 2014. Preseason Week 4 is the last opportunity for the group of 75 players to put their talents on display in order to make the Raiders 53-man roster.

Head Coach Dennis Allen views this week as the final chance for the team to focus almost exclusively on themselves. During the regular season, more time is spent each week studying the upcoming opponent. “We’ll probably spend about as much time on Seattle as we did in the first couple of preseason games, but we’ll really focus the next couple of days will be basically on ourselves,” he explained.

Thursday’s game is another opportunity for the Raiders to get better. “We want to take the same thing out of every game. I look for everybody to try to get better and get a win and just see how much this team can come together,” said rookie S Jonathan Dowling. “That’s the point of this whole preseason, just getting this team to become more of a family and keep growing on each other.”

The 2014 Raiders have been working together for several months (through offseason workouts, training camp and three preseason games) and the younger players are noticing personal and overall improvements. “I just need to keep getting better, day in and day out,” said Dowling. “I’m nowhere near where I want to be. There’s always something to improve on. I just want to make that first play in the game, make an interception or get that first turnover out of the way. That’s what I’m really focusing on this week, and just being where I’m supposed to be.”

The Raiders 2014 third-round draft pick, G Gabe Jackson, is becoming more comfortable with his game at the NFL level. “My awareness of things happening [has improved]...just small things like being aware of where the defense is moving,” Jackson said.

As he continues to better himself, he’s also looking forward to the offensive line having a good day’s work against the Seahawks on Thursday. “Just going out there and competing and getting better as an offensive line, getting better as a unit,” said Jackson. “That’s always a goal for us and Coach [Tony] Sparano, to compete, no matter what the situation is; always compete and just focus on getting better.”

The Raiders will see some familiar faces Thursday evening, including former Oakland QB Terrelle Pryor. The defense remembers the mobility of the athletic quarterback. “He’s still extremely athletic. He can make a lot of plays in the pocket, moving around in the pocket, creating,” said Coach Allen. “They’re doing some things with him with the read-option game, which presents a big challenge. Obviously, his speed is something that we’re certainly concerned about. So he’s shown a lot of the same things that we saw when he was here.”

It will be a good opportunity for the Raiders defense, which has not faced a quarterback quite like Pryor this preseason. “This is a good practice. Whether it’s good, bad, indifferent, this is good practice because we’ll get to see the calls and how they work and we’ll learn from them,” said Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver. “And then we can work on both the calls and obviously, how it all fits on the read scheme.”

Photo by Tony Gonzales

CB Neiko Thorpe feels prepared for whatever the Seahawks present. “Coach [Head Coach Dennis Allen] has a great defense. We have something for everything, so with a mobile quarterback, we’re just going to adjust to it,” said Thorpe. “They have good players and so do we. Honestly, I know that myself and the rest of the team are looking forward to the challenge.”

The Raiders offense is preparing for a solid Seahawks defense. Although it’s unlikely they will see much of players like CB Richard Sherman or safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, the Seahawks defense has consistently proven to be a challenge in the past.

Coach Allen said QB Matt Schaub will not play in the final preseason match-up, allowing rookie QB Derek Carr to get valuable reps. “He needs the experience, as with all these young guys,” said Coach Allen. “So for him to be able to get out there against a really good defense and get some more game experience will be a big part of his development.”

Rookie RB George Atkinson III and the rest of the offense are preparing for a Seahawks defense that has only relinquished 20 points in the last two preseason games. “You just have to be solid in your fundamentals and know what you have to do, and trust your teammates that they’re going to do their job too,” said Atkinson III. “They are a deep team, especially on defense, so we have to be offensively sound in protections and things like that just to make sure we’re moving the ball downfield.”

Atkinson III understands the importance of this game to his career. “I just want to show off my abilities and show the coaches that I deserve a spot on the team,” said Atkinson III. “That’s everybody’s mindset coming in, as far as the rookies, and the younger players.”

The Raiders will face the Seahawks in the regular season as well, traveling to Seattle for a Week 9 match-up at CenturyLink Field.

After Thursday night’s game, the Raiders will have to make their final roster cuts to reach the 53-man limit. They also have 10 positions open on the practice squad. It will be a busy week in Oakland.

You can watch Thursday’s game on KTVU FOX 2, listen on 98.5 KFOX and follow along on Raiders.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.