Photo credit: @NBCSRaiders
By Tony Renteria
The Oakland Raiders have spent much of the preseason looking for the backup to All-Pro quarterback Derek Carr and have found that answer in a great game by EJ Manuel. Manuel, who spent time in Buffalo before coming to the Silver and Black last season, has looked spotty at best during the first three preseason games, but came out tonight looking like a quality starter as he went an outstanding 18-for-22 with 255 yards and three touchdowns as the Raiders won 30-19 against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night.
Manuel found a security blanket in Keon Hatcher, who caught two of those touchdowns from Manuel, three overall and seemed to be everywhere on the field as he was the punt returner and on special team coverage. Hatcher did make a case for making the final 53-man roster, but might end up on the scout team.
Quarterback coach Brian Callahan took over the play calling duties tonight from head coach John Gruden and seemed to do a good job balancing the run/pass ratio. The Raiders, who did not dress 21 of the 22 starters, did a very good job with players who will be cut on by September 1.
The Raiders used this last game to ensure that Manuel had it in him to be the backup and with the team more than likely only keeping two quarterbacks this last meaningless preseason game carried some meaning for the Raiders’ coaching staff.
NFL preseason leading Rusher Chris Warren III had 41 yards on 12 rushing attempts, but looked much better in pass protection and route running and looks like he will be one of the five running backs to make the roster.
Manual, Hatcher and Waarren III all made a differance tonight, lets see if tonight turns in a roster spot for these three young men.
The Raiders host the Rams to open the season on Monday Night Football on Monday, September 10 at 7:20 pm PDT.