A winless preseason isn’t something to celebrate, but it’s not the end of the world either. Reminder that the Detroit Lions had a 4-0 record in exhibition before the 2008 season, and we all know how that ended (HINT: THEY WOULD NOT WIN ANOTHER GAME THAT YEAR). So the Oakland Raiders aren’t in panic mode yet. Rather, they’re probably pleased with the handful of bright spots that they had, including those in the final preseason contest versus the Seattle Seahawks. Here are five of those players, all of whom are not with the team anymore.
When you’re the son of a former Raiders player, it’s safe to say you’re under further scrutiny than usual. Atkinson knows all about this. He played with the Raiders in the previous two preseasons too. The first ended with him on the practice squad for a year. The second ended with him barely missing out on a final roster spot, before the Cleveland Browns scooped him up for a year. Not a bad consolation prize (even if they are the Browns).
Atkinson came back to the Raiders for another go-around, and he made the most of it, culminating in a great game against Seattle. While he started off shaky with a mishandled kickoff that put the team in poor field position, Atkinson made up for it with a dynamic outing, rushing 9 times for 60 yards and catching 2 passes for 33 yards, leading the Raiders in all-purpose yardage. He also had a touchdown wiped out by a holding penalty.
Unfortunately, Atkinson was cut again. Another opportunity should be around the corner for him though. And perhaps a fourth preseason stint next year.
John Crockett, RB
Crockett also had a bad start, and it was ten times worse than his chief competitor Atkinson’s. He fumbled his first carry, which gave the Seahawks an easy field goal early in the opening period. Crockett plodded for most of the game after that, before opening things up in the fourth quarter with a gritty series of runs that ended in a go-ahead Giorgio Tavecchio field goal. He had 7 carries for 52 yards on that drive, which made up most of his 12 carries for 62 yards on the night. He also had 4 catches for 15 yards. Crockett wasn’t likely to make the roster though, considering he only had two decent games. He might catch on elsewhere.
KJ Brent, WR
Many articles ahead of Thursday’s game discussed the potential battle for the sixth receiver slot between Brent and Jaydon Mickens. Well, that ended in a dud, as Mickens suited but didn’t step on the field, reportedly due to an ankle injury.
Brent, meanwhile, finally had a breakthrough game. He had 4 catches for 55 yards on 12 targets. Most of the failed incompletions were the fault of the passers, though Brent did cause the game clinching interception by bobbling the ball. Still, the second year wideout from Wake Forest took a big step forward, and the QBs clearly trusted him. However, he was eventually cut.
Keon Hatcher, WR
Hatcher was a darkhorse candidate for the sixth slot, and it could be argued he’s had a better preseason than both Brent and Mickens. He scored the Raiders’ lone TD of the night to go along with 5 catches and 48 yards. The undrafted rookie even showed some toughness after returning to the game three plays after a hit to the helmet from Seattle safety Tedric Thompson. Hatcher ended up missing out on the final roster, but the Raiders do want him on the practice squad, so he should feel pretty good about how things turned out.
LaTroy Lewis, LB
It’s was difficult keeping Lewis off the final roster after his stellar preseason. Lewis picked up 7 tackles and a sack against the Seahawks, closing out the preseason with 14 tackles, 3 sacks and a fumble return TD. The Raiders clearly want him as a practice squad guy, though another team might swoop in before that.