The Morning After: Raiders Beat Seahawks, 27-24

Game number four in the pre-season is generally devoid of any significant drama. That was the case on the field Thursday night, where few Seahawks separated themselves from their competition. Off the field, however, plenty of intrigue was brewing.

First, I eclipsed 100 followers on Twitter. People were talking about that all over the 425 and 206. Second, Pete Carroll and John Schneider stayed silent. The news was not the rumors about Housh getting traded. The news was that neither of the front office leaders did anything to quiet them. Nobody denied it to the press. Nobody talked to Housh, who sounded pretty bitter (understandably so). If we do trade him, fine. If we don’t trade him, we may be forced to cut him the way this has been handled. The bridge may not be burnt, but it’s definitely burning.

Stories surfaced that the trade of Housh would be done, in part, to save his $7M salary. Some guessed that was so the Hawks could make room for Vincent Jackson’s salary. What I’ll never understand is why we’d go the tough route of finding a trading partner for Housh, when we could save $5.3M by simply cutting Branch. Housh is more productive and is harder to get rid of. I’m starting to wonder if Branch has dirty pictures of his coaches every season. There is no other reasonable explanation for his persistent occupation of a roster spot.

To the game…it would be a waste of key strokes, and your reading time, to go into great detail on what we saw last night. I’ll be doing a 53-man roster projection in a while, and here were the guys who I think effected their chances:

– LB Joe Pawelek
I thought he delivered the most positive performance of the linebackers. He hit people, and was in constant motion. Likely secured a practice squad invite.

– DE James Wyche
Wyche was just signed after the Josh Wilson trade freed up a spot. He made a number of notable plays. It seems unlikely he’d earn a roster spot based on that, but he did make coaches notice him. Not practice squad eligible.

– S Kevin Ellison
Ellison looked slow and fit in with those around him. That’s not a good thing when you’re a former starter who is now surrounded by borderline NFL players. Bye, bye.

– LB Tyjuan Hagler
Despite leading the team with 10 tackles, I thought this was Hagler’s worst game. He was out of position on a number of plays, and missed some tackles. His spot on the roster is tough to call.

– TE Cameron Morrah
He almost made the best play of the pre-season before it got called back. If they think they can sneak him onto the practice squad, they will. Otherwise, I think they carry 4 TEs.

– LB Aaron Curry
Dexter Davis is a project at SAM LB. He is uncomfortable in space and in coverage. Yet, he made more plays from the SAM spot in this game than Curry made all pre-season. Curry is not in danger of losing his position, but the gap is closing.

– S Kam Chancellor
Already assured of making the team, Chancellor was abyssal in coverage. He was second on the team with 9 tackles, but there is a reason he is the 3rd string safety. Don’t expect to see him on the field until next season, other than on special teams.

– FB Owen Schmitt
Quinton Ganther looked good enough at FB that I don’t see Schmitt making the squad.

It was encouraging to see the offense produce a series of big plays once again. Even if Golden Tate is not able to run anything but a Go route at this point, he is getting behind his man every single time. That’s rare, even for pre-season. Deon Butler is a player that is going to demand some reps, but must make the catches that he dropped last night. Charlie Whitehurst needs some serious work in the pocket. He played scared and rushed for the third straight game. New tackle Tyler Polumbus looked very slow-footed. I can’t imagine he is ahead of Wrotto on the depth chart, even though Wrotto played his worst game. Walter Thurmond is over-hyped. It’s great that the kid made it back so quickly from surgery, but he was trailing receivers all night. Even though he made some bone-headed mistakes, I still would like to see Roy Lewis in there instead.

53-man roster projections to come, as well as the season preview.