The Oakland Raiders will get an opportunity to solidify their quarterback depth chart on Thursday night, when the Silver and Black host the Seattle Seahawks in the final preseason tune-up for each team.
With starter Jason Campbell likely to be held out due to a neck stinger and wrist injuries suffered in last week’s 28-24 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, head coach Tom Cable will get a chance to evaluate whether Kyle Boller or Bruce Gradkowski is better-suited for the all-important backup job.
Boller has had a strong preseason to date, but Gradkowski improved his prospects dramatically by completing 14-of-22 passes for 202 yards with a pair of touchdown passes against the Niners.
Barring a meltdown from Gradkowski on Thursday, the former Toledo star should win the No. 2 job.
The Raiders offense could be thin in several areas against the Seahawks, with running back Michael Bush (foot) and wideout Chaz Schilens (thumb) both out of the lineup along with Campbell.
Former first-round running back Darren McFadden, who has been bothered by injuries throughout the preseason and managed just nine yards on seven carries against the 49ers, could see significant time.
Seattle, meanwhile, could get some further clarity on its muddled running back picture in the final preseason game. Running backs Justin Forsett, Leon Washington and Julius Jones have competed for duties throughout the preseason, and all should be in uniform on Thursday.
Forsett (18 carries, 50 yards) and Jones (12 carries, 33 yards) have both averaged fewer than three yards per carry behind an injury-depleted offensive line, and Washington (10 carries, 35 yards, 1 TD) has been only slightly better in a smaller sample of action.
On the quarterback front for Seattle, Matt Hasselbeck is expected to make no more than a cameo in Oakland before yielding to backups Charlie Whitehurst and J.P. Losman.
Following Thursday’s games, all 32 NFL teams will have until 6pm ET on Saturday evening to trim their rosters to the 53-player maximum.
The Seahawks lead the all-time preseason series with the Raiders, 6-2, including a 31-21 home victory prior to last season.
The teams will also meet in meaningful play during the 2010 regular season, with the Seahawks visiting Oakland on Oct. 31st.
The Raiders open their 2010 regular season schedule at the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 12th, while the Seahawks welcome the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers to town the same day.