Raiders winners and losers in preseason finale vs. 49ers

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Raiders left nearly half their roster in Las Vegas when they traveled to Santa Clara to face the 49ers in the final preseason game for each team, and with the 49ers playing many of their starters, the results were as you’d expect.

Las Vegas competed but fell way short of victory in this last practice game of the year, losing 34-10. But with the Raiders starters resting at home, players on the roster bubble got all the snaps they could handle. Here are the Raiders winners and losers from 60 minutes of make-or-break football in the Bay Area.

Winners

Amik Roberston

A week after losing the nickel cornerback position battle with rookie CB Nate Hobbs, Raiders CB Amik Robertson was born again on the outside and made a statement against the 49ers.

Robertson made plays on multiple levels of the defense, thwarting an early attempt at a passing touchdown along the left sideline by San Francisco. He also stepped up and displayed his physicality with a nice tackle near the line of scrimmage early on.

Damon Arnette gets an honorable mention for his play at cornerback, but Robertson had more to lose in this game, with Arnette being secured of a spot on the team. Solid special-teams play sealed the deal on Robertson’s winning afternoon, and he looks like another potential winner for the Raiders in their young secondary, joining Hobbs.

Gerald McCoy

Raiders defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was brought to Las Vegas to bring pressure up the middle. Until Sunday, however, it was unclear whether he still had the elite skill he was known for before a quad injury kept him out of the NFL in 2020.

McCoy barely practiced before Sunday, let alone play in a preseason game. But against the 49ers, the 33-year-old got plenty of snaps and looked like a difference-maker. He gained access to San Francisco’s backfield with ease, playing exactly like the six-time Pro Bowler that he is.

If McCoy can play even a fraction as well during the regular season, he could be the key to the defense, much as ex-Raiders DT Maliek Collins was supposed to be last season. Pressure up the middle has been nearly non-existent under coach Jon Gruden, but it appears those days could be over.

Dillon Stoner

In a bit of a surprise, Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said that competition at wide receiver was still very much alive in Las Vegas as the squad prepared for their preseason finale.

With that being the case, WR Dillon Stoner may have earned a place in the Raiders locker room come cutdown day. He infused life into Las Vegas’ offense in the second quarter with a 27-yard reception and finished with three catches for 69 yards on six targets. Another impressive grab in the second half earned Stoner even more real estate, gaining 32 yards.

Plus, Stoner returned kicks. He didn’t do anything spectacular, but he did display sure hands. That alone is worth something in the NFL. But will Stoner actually make the final 53-man roster? It still seems like a bit of a longshot, but he answered Olson’s challenge with aplomb.

Losers

D.J. Turner

Turner was seemingly in direct competition with Stoner for a potential spot at wide receiver on the Raiders. Keelan Doss was also in the mix, but the Raiders have a clear idea of Doss’ skills already.

As for Turner, he had a less impactful day than Stoner had, catching two passes from quarterback Nathan Peterman on three targets.

He returned kicks, too, just as Stoner did, and also handled punt return duties (the Raiders only returned one punt all afternoon). But he failed to make waves. If Turner could have somehow broken a big one, he might have made good on his long odds at making the team. He didn’t, however, and he’s almost guaranteed an uncomfortable talk with Raiders brass on cutdown day.

Raiders starting defense

To be clear, the Raiders starting defense on Sunday in Santa Clara was not the Raiders’ real starting unit, with most of their frontline players staying in Las Vegas for the game.

But this group had a real opportunity against the 49ers’ starters. They were outclassed, however, especially in the front seven, allowing two long touchdown drives by San Francisco to start the game.

It wasn’t unexpected, but the Raiders’ backups could have been big winners in this matchup. They weren’t, but Las Vegas did see solid performances from Robertson, Arnette, McCoy and safety Karl Joseph. Also, rookie linebacker Divine Deablo got his feet wet, grabbing nine tackles (five solo) as he looked every bit the inexperienced player he is at this stage of his career.

Isaiah Johnson

The Raiders’ third-year cornerback got his first extended action of the preseason and had a bad day. As the second quarter wound down, Johnson got caught holding and then was called for pass interference later in the same drive, good for a 28-yard penalty.

With other young cornerbacks stepping up this preseason, Johnson needed to make a statement. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, it would have been great for the Raiders if he had. Could this be the end of the road for Johnson in Las Vegas? After his subpar day in Santa Clara, it’s a very real possibility.

The Raiders decided to play their best players sparingly this preseason, with Peterman taking all but one snap in Las Vegas’ three games, for example. A 17-game season is on the horizon, so it was probably a smart move. Plus, the Raiders got a good look at a bevy of young players on Sunday, despite the loss.

Now, Gruden and his staff will take on the tough task of deciding their players’ immediate futures. Some that get cut will find a home on the Raiders’ practice squad, or perhaps another team’s practice squad. For others, the NFL dream may be over.

But that’s all part of the pro-football business. Thankfully, the more exciting part, the regular season, is closer than ever. Quarterback Derek Carr and his frontline teammates will finally suit up and play football that counts starting Sept. 13 against the Ravens on Monday Night Football, live from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Like this article?

Sign up for the Raiders Wire email newsletter to get our top stories in your inbox every morning

An error has occured

Please re-enter your email address.

Thanks for signing up!

You'll now receive the top Raiders Wire stories each day directly in your inbox.