OAKLAND – The list of Raiders not playing Thursday’s exhibition finale was long and distinguished.
Derek Carr. Khalil Mack. Bruce Irvin. Amari Cooper. There were 19 starters and a few major role players were glued to the sideline, without a surprise among them.
Rookie defensive lineman Jihad Ward and safety Karl Joseph were the only starters to play in a 23-21 loss to Seattle that didn’t feature much excitement.
They didn’t make it out unscathed either. Offensive tackle Austin Howard suffered an undisclosed injury in the second quarter (more details below) and didn’t return.
Raiders defensive pressure never let up. A front manned by Ward, Denico Autry, Stacy McGee and Shilique Calhoun controlled the line of scrimmage. Undrafted rookie James Cowser brought quarterback pressure that forced an intentional grounding in the end zone ultimately resulting in a safety.
Head coach Jack Del Rio will have some interesting choices to make down the defensive depth chart, where he seems to have more deserving candidates than vacancies.
It’ll be hard to turn Latham away. The undrafted rookie capped a solid preseason with an excellent showing, and Autry had his best night of the summer, albeit against second-team Seahawks.
Fourth-round rookie quarterback Connor Cook played most of this game with lackluster results. Several passes were a smidge off target, and his units never sustained drives in largely listless affair.
Cook finished 15-of-30 passing for 145 yards and an ill-advised interception returned for a touchown in likely his last extended action of the year.
Howard goes down: Raiders offensive tackle Austin Howard started Thursday’s exhibition at left tackle, apparently preparing to be a swing tackle after losing a position battle to Menelik Watson at right tackle.
He didn’t last long. The veteran left the game early in the second offensive series with an apparent right leg injury. He went down and initially could not get up on his own. He was treated by trainers on the field, walked off under his power and was eventually escorted to the locker room.
The team did not immediately update Howard’s injury status. That is not required during the preseason.
Seahawk doesn’t stand: Player conduct during the national anthem was a focal point for a second straight week, after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the song last week protesting police brutality of minorities in recent months.
The Raiders stood a full attention for a second straight week as expected, but one Seattle Seahawk sat through the anthem. Cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the bench during that time, presumably joining Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem.
Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem during Thursday’s exhibition finale at San Diego, and was joined by 49ers safety Eric Reid.
A photo of Lane:
Here's photo of Seattle's Jeremy Lane sitting during national anthem in Oakland pic.twitter.com/oRGHyr1c3Z— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) September 2, 2016
Sitting it out: The list of healthy scratches is long, and discussed above. Defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. and linebacker Neiron Ball didn’t dress due to injury.
What’s next: Thursday’s game brought the Raiders preseason to an end. Now comes the tough part, trimming the roster by 22 players by Saturday afternoon. Several quality players won’t be part of this talented roster, though some of its youth will be signed to the practice squad. Cuts will be part of a long weekend before a regular-season game week begins prior to the Sept. 11 opener at New Orleans.