Ballers & Busters for Raiders preseason matchup with Patriots

·6 min read

The 2022 preseason for the Raiders wrapped up Friday night in Las Vegas. It was the last chance a lot of Raiders players had of making a strong impression, both on the Raiders as well as other teams that may be watching.

The goal here for many of these roster hopefuls is to make the Raiders’ decision very difficult. For others, it was to make the Raiders feel confident in keeping them.

Some achieved those goals, others did not.

Ballers

CB Sam Webb

No one stepped up bigger than Webb did. If only because he stepped out of obscurity to making his presence felt big time. The undrafted rookie out of Missouri Western was all over the place.

A possession in the first quarter began with Webb forcing an incompletion in coverage and ended two plays later with him making the tackle short of the sticks.

The next drive, he kept a short catch in front of him to make the tackle, have coverage on an incompletion on third down to force the Pats to go for it on fourth down, and had coverage on Davante Parker in the end zone, forcing him to push off for an offensive pass interference penalty. Webb also on occasion forces run-on sentences.

The next possession ended with Webb again keeping the play in front of him to make the tackle short of the sticks. He ended two more drive in the third quarter with a tackle short of the first down and a pass breakup on a deep ball attempt. He finished tied for the team lead with five solo tackles.

DE Tashawn Bower

Bower took an already impressive preseason and put an exclamation point on it. With the team in much need of pass rush depth behind Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones, Bower made a big statement that he can be that next man up.

He did it all in this game on defense. He made stops in the run game, he made a tackle outside on a receiver, and most importantly, he got pressure on the QB. To the tune of two sacks and a QB hit.

His second sack was a strip sack. And though the Raiders didn’t recover it, Bower made up for it later, when he recovered a fumble that ended the game for the Patriots. He led all defensive linemen with five combined tackles, all solo.

LB Luke Masterson

No player in this game did himself more favors than Masterson. He was simply masterful in proving his worth.

Why do I say that? Well, in part because fringe roster guys like him need to show up big time on special teams. And Masterson had two special teams tackles in this game.

It was more than his special teams play, though. He showed up as a linebacker on defense when he teamed up for a tackle for loss on the second play of the game.  Then he showed up in coverage on the next drive, picking off a pass over the middle and returning it 30 yards. The Raiders would score a touchdown off that turnover.

LB Darien Butler

The man who led the team with seven combined tackles. He teamed up with Masterson to make that tackle for loss on the second play of the game. Then he just played relatively mistake-free football the rest of the way, being where he needed to be and making the stop when it had to be made.

P AJ Cole, K Daniel Carlson

If there were any other kickers on this team right now, these two would have been parked on the sideline with the starters. But there aren’t, so they just went out and showed they are arguably the best kicker/punter duo in the league.

Cole’s first two punts traveled 64 yards and 63 yards. Then he opened the third quarter with a 62-yard punt with no return. His final punt went 35 yards and was fair caught at the 13-yard-line.

Carlson made all three of his field goals, including a 50-yarder.

Honorable Mention

WR Isaiah Zuber — He earned the nickname “two-way Zay” in this one. Because he had a nice catch on offense, and then picked off a deep pass when put in the game at safety as well.

Busters

T Alex Leatherwood

Leatherwood didn’t start this game. That was Jermaine Eluemunor. And things went pretty swimmingly while Eluemunor was in at right tackle. Once Leatherwood came in, the drop-off was noticeable.

On his third play of the game, Leatherwood gave up a pressure, causing Chase Garbers to scramble out of the pocket, The next play Leatherwood gave up a run stuff at the line.

Late in the second quarter, Leatherwood was driven so far into the backfield, he was unable to pick up the rusher on the stunt to give up the sack for a loss of ten. That ended the Raiders hopes of scoring heading into the half.

He was so bad the rest of the way — and against backup and practice squad players — it’s almost not worth mentioning each thing individually.

The Raiders went three-and-out to start the third quarter because Leatherwood gave up two pressures that led to incompletions. The next drive ended with a turnover on downs because Leatherwood was stood up on third-and-one and fourth-and-one for a run stuff.

Even late in the fourth quarter, Leatherwood was still giving up pressures and run stops. Either he’s really this bad or he’s just given up. Right now he looks simply useless at any line position and therefore anything in trade would be based solely on his status as a 2021 first round pick.

DE Clelin Ferrell

Speaking of former top picks…

Ferrell played 14 snaps in this game — his first since returning from injury. And, much like Ferrell has done in games throughout his career, he didn’t record a single stat. Nor did he do anything that was worth mentioning that wouldn’t show up in the stat column. He was just invisible out there. Not exactly the type of player you feel like he gotta hold onto.

S Isaiah Pola-Mao

With the four safety spots on this team locked up, Pola-Mao got the start. He miss a tackle on a 13-yard run, get dragged for the final ten yards on a 33-yard run, give up a nine-yard catch and then give up a 17-yard catch on third down late in the game.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire