The NFL closes the lid on its 2011 preseason when the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks square off Friday at Qwest Field in a matchup of teams that will feature a few familiar faces on one of the opposing sidelines.
This game is the only one on Friday’s schedule and will be the last warm-up test before the league officially kicks off its 2011 campaign with a high- profile clash between the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 8.
While both the Raiders and Seahawks will essentially use this contest as a means to evaluate players who are battling to stick on the final roster when final cuts are announced on Saturday, each would also like to head into their regular-season openers with a bit of momentum as well.
That’s especially the case on Oakland’s part, as the Raiders are in danger of going winless in the preseason for the first time since 1989, when the franchise was then located in Los Angeles.
Oakland was unable to contain Drew Brees and a high-powered New Orleans offense in its most recent defeat, with the Saints amassing a gaudy 514 total yards en route to a 40-20 victory last Sunday at the Coliseum.
On a positive note, starting quarterback Jason Campbell completed a sharp 12- of-17 passes for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception while participating in the entire first half against the Saints. Rookie running back Taiwan Jones also made a very good first impression in his pro debut, with the speedy fourth-round draft pick ripping off a 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and finishing with 81 yards on 13 carries.
Jones, who sat out Oakland’s first two preseason tilts with a hamstring injury, figures to get more work in Friday’s clash, which could also mark the first pro action of Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor, taken by Oakland in the third round of the Aug. 22 supplemental draft, began practicing with his new team last week. This game will be the only opportunity for the Raiders to get a look at the former Ohio State standout for a while, as Pryor is to serve a five-game suspension to begin the regular season for receiving improper benefits while a collegian.
Campbell may not play at all on Friday, which would allow new head coach Hue Jackson a chance to judge quarterbacks Kyle Boller and Trent Edwards, two veterans competing for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. Boller may have pulled ahead in the race after hitting on 5-of-7 throws for 69 yards in spot duty versus New Orleans.