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.
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.