FB Marcel Reece runs for a TD in the regular season game vs. the Seahawks in 2010. Photo by Tony Gonzales
The Oakland Raiders travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field this Friday in the final preseason game of 2011. The fourth preseason game is an opportunity for the coaches to make their final evaluations before trimming to a 53-player roster Saturday. "Everything is heightening and I'm sure guys feel the anxiety about what's going to happen that many of them are going to be here and not be here," said Head Coach Hue Jackson. "The season is right around the corner, the opener is however many days away, so I think that everybody has a sense of purpose and urgency."
Players, both rookies and veterans, understand the importance of the game in Seattle. "Obviously, to us, it's a game where we want to come out with a victory," said WR Derek Hagan. "We haven't won a game this preseason, and although it's just preseason, it would be nice to get a taste of victory before the regular season starts. Hopefully, we can go up there and play four good quarters of football and come out with a victory. This is the last preseason game, guys are still trying to make the team and show coaches what they can do, so just have to go out and play, do what you can do, and make plays."
Veteran safety Tyvon Branch sees the game as a chance for the team to continue to improve. "It's another good opportunity for us to go out there and work on our craft and get better at what we're trying to do," said Branch.
Rookie offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski also plans to use the game to improve. "I'm excited about it," said Wisniewski. "It's another opportunity to get better and it's our last one before we have a real game so it's really important that we're playing at our best."
Many of the undrafted rookie free agents are playing for their chance to secure a spot on the active roster. "I still have one more game to make a name for myself and get a spot on this team," said LB Bani Gbadyu. "It's been a dream come true no matter what happens. I'm going to go out there, do what the coaches said, work my butt off and see what happens."
The team is preparing for the Seahawks who were last year's NFC West champions and knocked out the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs. The Raiders offense and defense will be ready to take on the team they beat twice last year, once in the preseason and once in the regular season. "They are a good football team," said Coach Jackson. "They are coached by Pete Carroll and he does a great job. We did play them twice last year and their stadium is one of the loudest in football, so that in itself is a challenge. They have a team that is a very formidable opponent. They are good, they run around on defense, they're tough and aggressive and it will be a good test for us. We want to go up there with every intention of winning the game, and evaluate this team. After that, the stuff going on in the preseason is over with and it's time to get down to business."
The Raiders defense knows what to expect from the Seahawks offense. "Marshawn [Lynch] is a good running back, they have some good receivers there and a new quarterback so they've got a good offense and we're going out there to work," said Branch.
Gbadyu is prepared for the Seahawks offense to run the ball. "I'm expecting them to run the ball because they saw how successful running, play action pass was for the Saints," said Gbadyu. "I'm expecting the same thing we got from the Saints from Seattle."
The Raiders offense is more focused on their own execution than the Seahawks defense. "They have great athletes out there, but we have a great offense so we'll go out there and execute and make plays," said WR Shaun Bodiford.
Bodiford has some added motivation because he'll be returning to his hometown and playing in front of family and friends. "I'm pretty excited," said Bodiford. "That's my hometown so I'm going to have a lot of family out there and friends. I want to go out there and put on a good show and get our first 'W.'"
Players have to prove themselves to Coach Jackson and his staff. "[We're going to go out there] and just play ball, make plays, that's what it is about right now," said TE David Ausberry. "I'm just trying to go and do what I can do. I get to go against some great players with a great team. I'm ready to go and it's been a fun ride so far."
The offense understands that they will be playing against a solid defense with players leaving everything out on the field to earn roster spots. "They're going to be coming after us and we're going to need to be studied up and ready for some of the looks they give us," said Wisniewski.
Coach Jackson expects a lot out of his players in this week's game. "I think it is another opportunity for us to get ready before the season starts," said Coach Jackson. "I think our players understand that and that is what we need to do."
The Raiders will play the Seahawks at 7:30 p.m. PT on Friday, September 2. The game will air on KTVU Fox 2 in the Bay Area. Follow along on Raiders.com, Facebook, and Twitter.