Takeaways from Seahawks 17-13 win over Raiders in preseason finale

posted by Curtis Crabtree - 

Minnesota Vikings v Seattle Seahawks

The preseason is finally over and the Seahawks finished with a 4-0 record after a 17-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.

Now it's time for general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll to figure out which 53 players they will keep on their roster and which players they will have to let go by Saturday at 1 p.m. PT. While the staff almost certainly had a fairly clear idea of what they would do prior to Thursday night, leaving a strong final impression could make the difference at a few key spots.

With that in mind, here are the takeaways from Seattle's win over the Raiders:

1. Austin Davis makes strong push to be Russell Wilson's backup.

Davis connected with Kenny Lawler on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 1:10 remaining to lead the Seahawks to victory on Thursday night. He finished the outing 10 of 16 for 123 yards and a touchdown on the night.

Meanwhile, Trevone Boykin didn't exactly close the preseason with a bang. After an 0 for 6 outing with an interception last week against Kansas City, Boykin was intercepted twice more by the Raiders. Shalom Luani hauled in an overthrow of Lawler as Boykin tried to force the ball into triple coverage. Breon Borders then picked off Boykin as he attempted to force a throw into Lawler in the red zone.

Davis was perfect against the Chiefs, completing all five passes for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Davis is an experienced player with poise in the pocket. While Boykin is the better athlete and can create more with his legs, Davis is clearly the superior passer. Ultimately, it will depends on what Seattle wants in a backup to Wilson.

Boykin would have practice squad eligibility and it seems unlikely a team would grab him off waivers should he be released. It could ultimately allow Seattle to hang on to all three of their quarterbacks into the regular season.

Davis clearly did everything he could to show he deserves the gig.

2. Starters placed in bubble wrap for final preseason game.

It's a new era in preseason football.

Without an intermediate cut from 90 to 75 players before the final preseason game, teams can get away with sitting far more of their key players to save for the start of the regular season.

Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson were among the group of core players that did not even make a cursory appearance in the game against the Raiders.

Jarran Reed and Terence Garvin were the closest thing to starters that played on the defensive side of the ball for Seattle.

The offensive line did have it's starting unit on the field - minus Luke Joeckel -  for the first several drives before giving way to the backup units.

The expanded rosters for the final game gave teams the flexibility to play their reserves and get one final evaluation before cuts come on Saturday.

3. Wide receiver choices will be extremely difficult.

Even with the reported attempts to trade Jermaine Kearse in recent days, the choices of who will make the roster at receiver is going to be a massive chore.

Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson and Amara Darboh will be on the roster. Kasen Williams is almost certainly on the team as well with the performances he's had this preseason. Kearse has had some of the biggest catches in franchise history. Tanner McEvoy and Kenny Lawler have produced in the preseason as well and have some experience from last season, and David Moore has shown himself capable as well in training camp.

Seattle will probably only be able to keep six or seven receivers on their roster. Just for the sake of argument, let's assume Kearse isn't on the roster. That still leaves difficult decisions between McEvoy, Lawler and Moore for the last spot or two.

It will be among the most challenging calls the front office will have to make this weekend.

4. Pierre Desir shines, DeAndre Elliott suffers devastating injury.

DeAndre Elliott suffered a broken and dislocated ankle in the second quarter when his right foot got caught underneath linebacker Otha Peters as the two players attempted to tackle Raiders running back George Atkinson.

Elliott could be heard yelling in pain on the TV broadcast as trainers attended to him on the field. His right leg was placed in an air cast and he left the field on the back of a cart. The entire Seahawks bench surrounded the cart to wish him well before departing the field of play.

Elliott appeared in 13 games last year after signing with Seattle as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State. He recorded eight tackles for Seattle last season. He was in a battle for a roster spot this season but had put himself in decent shape to make the squad.

While Elliott's season likely ended in an instant, Pierre Desir continued to stake a claim for a roster spot.

Desir was a fourth-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2014. After two seasons, he was released by the Browns and spent a year with the San Diego Chargers before signing with Seattle's practice squad last year.

Desir had two tackles and a pass defended Thursday night against the Raiders. He's been strong in coverage throughout the preseason. He's put himself in position to make the final roster with his performance.


Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 18: Quarterback Austin Davis #6 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field on August 18, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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