We’re officially a week away from the start of the 2017 NFL season, with tonight marking the final day for preseason games across the league, ahead of final roster cuts on Saturday. The fourth exhibition contest is virtually designated as a final chance for players on the bubble to show off their stuff, and that won’t be different with the literal last game of the preseason, when the Oakland Raiders host the Seattle Seahawks at 10 p.m. EDT. Here are some things to look out for when the game kicks off later tonight.
Gareon Conley Making His Debut?
The Raiders’ first round draft pick only just began on-the-field activities this week after languishing on the Physically Unable To Perform list with a shin injury for all of training camp. Head coach Jack Del Rio has stated that he expects Conley to be healthy enough to play in the team’s first game against the Tennessee Titans next Sunday, so this will be the only opportunity for him to get some preparation in. Then again, the Raiders may hold him back to prevent further injury.
Time To Shine For Backup QBs
It’d be a major swerve to see Derek Carr get any sort of playing time on the field, so the game will be in the hands of understudies EJ Manuel and Connor Cook, who are still locked in a battle for the #2 job. Cook has looked better overall through three games, but Manuel has more experience and has gotten in the game ahead of his counterpart in every game thus far. Whoever has the better performance should get the nod.
Bubble About To Burst For Fringe Roster Candidates
The NFL decided to eliminate the 75 man roster cutdown, so on Saturday, teams will go from 90 to 53 players in an instant. The Raiders have a lot of tough decisions to make, including picking between KJ Brent, Jaydon Mickens and Keon Hatcher as the man for the sixth receiver spot. Other guys looking to lock down a position on the roster include running back Elijah Hood, center Ian Silberman, linebacker LaTroy Lewis and safety Shalom Luani.