The Raiders have officially wrapped up preseason play and the focus has now shifted to the regular season. Quarterback Derek Carr let his Twitter followers know he’s pumped to get things going.
Preseason done… here we go #RaiderNation !!!! 💀💀💀💀
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) August 31, 2018
With anticipation growing for the Monday night matchup against the Rams, here are my three takeaways as we inch closer to regular season play.
No. 1— With Derek Carr’s spot on the roster already penciled in, his excitement as the leader of the team is completely understandable. For a large portion of players on the team, however, the feeling is not mutual. At least not yet. Making the 53-man roster is the first objective before looking to the regular season.
The cornerback group for Oakland is one that peeks my interest. It is stacked with 12 very capable players. Best case scenario for these guys is the team keeps six, maybe seven corners on the roster. This position group is filled by two types of players, veterans and, young-guns. With roster spots at a premium, any mistake could be costly.
Antonio Hamilton is entering his third year in the league and has looked superb this preseason. Hamilton, however, realizes the importance of his play and shared his thoughts via Twitter after the last exhibition game.
Target 7 times and allow 3 catches ain’t a good enough job for me… Say your worse..17yd back shoulder fade..24yd over and a 5yd hitch…
— Antonio Hamilton (@UnitedSt8Of_Ham) August 31, 2018
No. 2— The battle for the backup quarterback spot has been a focal point for Raider Nation this entire preseason. After the final preseason game, it looks like EJ Manuel’s strong performance has ended this position battle.
Prior to Thursday night’s game, not everyone was sold on Manuel as the solidified backup. One such Raider fan thought Manuel should be cut and replaced by Colin Kaepernick. Manuel who saw the jab on Twitter took it in stride and offered a simple “lol” in return.
After putting on a show against the Seahawks, Kyle Martin of Raiders.com shared his thoughts on Manuel’s outing with a ‘gif’ that I’m sure all of Raider Nation could resonate with.
EJ Manuel is SLINGING it tonight.
18/22 for 255 yards and 3 TDs pic.twitter.com/WT2jBy6iE8
— Kyle Martin (@KylesFeed) August 31, 2018
No. 3— A common talking point regarding the Raiders is the storylines surrounding the wide receivers. The Raiders appeared to shock many as they moved on from Michael Crabtree and brought in Jordy Nelson as his replacement. Then Oakland went out and traded for Martavis Bryant to add with Nelson and Amari Cooper. Adding depth to the roster, general manager Reggie McKenzie drafted what I thought of as a ‘diamond in the rough’ with Marcell Ateman.
With recent reports indicating Seth Roberts will be brought back, it appeared Ateman and return specialist Dwayne Harris would round out this group of wide-outs.
Then the last preseason game happened. Keon Hatcher, who was a Raiders practice squad player a season ago, has now made his case loud and clear that he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster. Hatcher tallied eight catches, 128-yards, and three touchdowns on Thursday night.
Trying to make the roster?
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) August 31, 2018
Raider Nation, Ramble off your thoughts in the comments, Twitter and Facebook! Will Antonio Hamilton and Keon Hatcher make the 53-man roster and has EJ Manuel done enough to warrant confidence as the backup quarterback?