Raider Nation, you've been patient, and finally crossed through the valley that is the preseason.
Thursday night, the Silver and Black defeated the Seattle Seahawks 30-19 in the preseason finale, and Head Coach Jon Gruden was smiling from ear-to-ear as his offense had a field day in the Pacific Northwest.
Gruden relinquished play-calling duties to quarterback coach Brian Callahan for the night, and Callahan set the team up for success. Quarterback EJ Manuel started the game and played until late in the third quarter, with Connor Cook finishing the night from then on. The former first-round pick had an efficient night at CenturyLink Field, and he was just one of a few players to put their best put forward in the final game of the preseason.
Let's break down a few of last night's stand out performances.
Linebacker Jason Cabinda
Cabinda isn't a player you're probably too familiar with, but he should be.
Last year the Raiders saw undrafted free agent Nicholas Morrow make an impression through training camp and the preseason that earned him a spot on the 53-man roster, and it's possible we're witnessing a similar situation with Cabinda.
In three out of the Raiders' four preseason games, the former Penn State Nittany Lion has led the team in tackles, with 28 total. Unfortunately for Cabinda, he has a handful of established veterans in front of him, which means making the final roster could be challenging. We'll see what General Manager Reggie McKenzie and Coach Gruden do in the next two days, but Cabinda has done more than enough to show he's capable of playing at the NFL level.
Wide Receiver Keon Hatcher
You want to talk about ending the preseason on a high note? Keon Hatcher did that and more against the Seahawks.
The former University of Arkansas Razorback finished his impressive night with eight receptions totaling 128 receiving yards, and three touchdowns, with the longest score being a 45-yarder coming in the first quarter. Following the game, Hatcher spoke with the media about his big night on the field, and shared that it was the first time he's had a three-touchdown performance since he was in high school.
Hatcher spent the entirety of the 2017 season on the practice squad, and like Cabinda, unfortunately he has some talented wide outs in front of him who are locks for the 53-man roster. The soon-to-be 24-year-old will have plenty of tape for the coaching staff to review before they make their final decisions on the roster.
Quarterback EJ Manuel
I touched on it a little at the top, but Manuel's game was nothing short of spectacular Thursday. The last few weeks, both Manuel and Connor Cook had struggled to kick the offense into gear, but that wasn't an issue against Seattle. No. 3 went 18-for-22 with 255 yards and three touchdowns, but the main takeaway was the fact he had zero turnovers.
Manuel struggled with fumbling the ball last week against the Packers, but on a scramble out of the pocket Thursday night trying to make a play, he took a hit from a Seahawks linebacker, and managed to protect the ball without coughing it up.
"Never had fumble issues ever in my life, like, literally back to little league," Manuel said postgame. "That's football, you know what I mean? It humbles you, man, and it's one of those things where you obviously address it. You don't want it to happen, and I did take off tonight, and I was happy to get tackled and still hold onto the ball. It was good."
It remains to be seen who will eventually be named Derek Carr's backup, but Manuel certainly put his best foot forward in the preseason finale.