Ballers & Busters for Raiders preseason Week 2 vs Rams

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Preseason is now through its second week and the next wave up cuts are upcoming. But before that happens, we take a look at the players who stepped up and those whose performances may have them stepping down.

Ballers

CB Nate Hobbs

Hobbs was balling from start to finish in this game. So much so that he earned a game ball from Jon Gruden despite Gruden saying he doesn’t usually do that for preseason games.

In the third play of the game, the Raiders had the Rams in third-and-11. They went for a screen out right and Hobbs sniffed it out all the way, flying into tackle the receiver for a loss just as he caught the ball. This forced a punt out of the back of the Rams’ endzone and gave the Raiders great field position at the LA 32-yard-line. They would drive for a touchdown from there.

Two possession later, the Rams were again lined up in third down and Hobbs came flying in again, this time on the blitz. The QB was able to escape, but on his run out right, he would be pressured again and end up throwing incomplete.

Early in the third quarter, the Rams got the ball back up 10-7. On the first play of the possession, the Rams went for a big play deep up the middle of the field. Hobbs read the QB, chased down the pass, and leapt in the air to pick it off. The Raiders would take over and drive for a game-tying field goal.

The final drive Hobbs added a big hit tackle and a pass breakup giving him 4 combined tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, and two passes defended. Have yourself a day, rook.

LB Javin White

White got the start at linebacker again. And he came roaring out the gates. He made the tackle in the first play of the game for the Rams offense, Helping stop a run at one yard.

The second drive, the Rams lined up in second-and-18 and White very nearly picked the ball off. He had perfect position and had the ball hit both his hands, but couldn’t reel it in. The Rams would punt after the next play.

The next possession he ran down a pass deep up the left side and got his hands up to knock it down.

With questions surrounding starter Nicholas Morrow’s foot, along with White showing off his coverage abilities seemed like it could open the door for him to make the regular-season roster. Those hopes came crashing down in the third quarter when White went down with a serious knee injury and was carted off the field. It looks like the Oakland native and UNLV star’s dreams of making the Raiders roster will have to wait another year.

OT Alex Leatherwood

The rookie starter played the first quarter (16 snaps). But in those snaps, he was perfect. Gave up no pressures and even was the leader blocker on a couple of nice runs on the Raiders’ first scoring drive.

WR Marcell Ateman

Ateman made up for a rough preseason opener with two outstanding catches in this game. The first came late in the first quarter with Nate Peterman throwing a ball just barely out of reach of the defender. Ateman shows great concentration to catch the ball around the defender for 16 yards.

The second catch was the biggest play of the game for either team. Midway through the fourth quarter, with the score tied at 10-10, the Raiders lined up at the 29-yard-line. Gruden called double eight’s number. He made a double move, Peterman sold it with a pump fake, the defender bit hard and Ateman was wide open up the left side for the touchdown.

TE Alex Ellis

Ellis quietly led the Raiders in catches in the game (4). Showing why he is on this roster and why he could earn a job. It might be on another team, or on the Raiders’ practice squad, but a job.

His first catch came in the two-minute drill late in the first half. It went for 15 yards. But the Raiders weren’t able to capitalize on it. Peterman threw for him a couple more times on the drive, but the first pass was knocked down and the second was stopped for two yards.

In the third quarter, Peterman found Ellis again for big yards. On third and four from their own 33-yard line, Ellis broke open for a 21-yard catch and run. But once again, the Raiders couldn’t capitalize on it.

Ellis’s final catch went for three yards on third and four. It set up fourth and one and the Raiders went for it and converted to move into field goal range and tie the game at 10-10.

WR DJ Turner

The undrafted rookie had a workmanlike performance that deserves mentioning. He had a 16-yard catch, a 23-yard punt return, made a block on an 8-yard run, and even made a tackle. Yes, a tackle. It came after an interception with Turner stopping the return at nine yards and keeping the Rams from getting good field position out of it.

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Busters

OT Patrick Omameh, OT Jaryd Jones-Smith

One of the more difficult decisions I had to make when putting together my 53-man roster projection was deciding between Omameh and Jones-Smith. I figure the team would like to keep a reserve G/T around and these two are wh they have to choose from. I ended up going with Omameh over Jones-Smith, but upon further review, I’d like to call an audible…and say neither.

Both have been completely untrustworthy in the Raiders’ first two preseason games. It was just a matter of one being worse than the other. But don’t get it twisted, both were flat-out bad. The audible would have the team scanning the waiver wire for a better/decent option.

Omameh in particular was tossed around like a rag doll by Rams seventh-round edge rusher Chris Garrett — the pride of Division II Concordia-St Paul.

Early in the second quarter, Omameh was a trainwreck. He gave up a batted ball at the line that was picked off. The Rams would get the ball in Vegas territory and drive for a touchdown off of the turnover. In the ensuing possession, Omameh gave up two sacks in three plays to end the drive farther back than it started.

The half ended with Omameh getting thrown onto his back to give up a pressure and an incompletion and Jones-Smith getting flagged for holding on third down (it was declined). The third quarter began with Jones-Smith giving up a 9-yard sack.

S Dallin Leavitt

One of the last images in this game was Leavitt being congratulated by his teammates when the Rams were unable to convert on their two-point conversion to give the Raiders the 17-16 win. That’s great and all, except it’s quite misleading.

Yes, Leavitt was the man in coverage on the play. But he was turned around and the pass was uncatchable. Should the ball had been anywhere near catchable, that would have been ball game the other way.

Also, had this been a regular game, the Rams wouldn’t have even been going for two. They would have kicked the PAT to tie it up. But it’s the preseason, so there’s no point in playing for the tie.

Oh, and the touchdown — which as we said would have led to the tie in the regular season — was surrendered by Leavitt. And Jacob Harris — who dropped a TD pass over Leavitt previously — was wide open.

Oh, and that touchdown drive was set up by a 4th down conversion in which Leavitt couldn’t catch the QB as he scrambled around the edge for seven yards. So, go ahead and give him some back pats after the uncatchable pass in the area he was defending. He could certainly use them after that series of events.

WR Keelan Doss

One of the heroes of the first preseason game, Doss came down to earth in this one. And it was a hard fall. In the second quarter, he was blown by on the block to give up a tackle for a loss of six. Then in the fourth quarter, Nate Peterman threw for Doss’s back shoulder up the right sideline only to have the ball bounce off his chest and get intercepted. He had zero catches on two targets.

LB Max Richardson

Three plays into the second half, the Rams lined up in third and one. They picked up the first down on a four-yard run. The play would have been relatively unimportant except on the play, Richardson was blocked off the line and as he fell, he plowed into the back of Javin White’s legs, causing him to go down in pain. White was seriously injured and had to be carted off the field.

Things happen. But the rest of Richardson’s day consisted of being blocked on a seven-yard run and giving up an 18-yard catch.

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