A week after running a predictable, productive Raiders offense, quarterback Nathan Peterman had a hard-luck game against the Rams but recovered to lead Las Vegas to a 17-16 preseason win at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
But over the course of the game, plenty of Raiders had their chance to impress coach Jon Gruden as Las Vegas prepares to cut its roster down before the regular season. Some did, and others did not. Here are the Raiders winners and losers from Week 2 of the preseason.
For the second consecutive week, rookie cornerback Nate Hobbs impacted the game behind the line of scrimmage. He displayed impressive instinct in making a tackle for loss early in the game, reading a swing pass to the right in plenty of time to lay a crisp hit on Rams wide receiver J.J. Koski, forcing a punt.
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley sent him on another early blitz, too, just as he did last week. This time, Hobbs missed the quarterback, though he got his hands on him. But he showed striking quickness in getting into the backfield. In the third quarter, Hobbs made a play deep in the secondary, too, with an athletic interception.
The Raiders may have a real find in Hobbs. A fifth-round pick, he’s thriving in Bradley’s defense thus far. And that’s fortunate for Las Vegas. He’s slated to start at nickel cornerback with veteran Nevin Lawson suspended to open the season.
The Raiders’ prized first-round pick is a work in progress, and he has to develop quickly. Las Vegas needs him to be a rock at right tackle starting Week 1, rookie or not.
Leatherwood played early in the game and had nice moments on multiple rushing plays, nimbly chopping his feet and pushing defenders backward. Many of those moments were when he and another Raider were 2-on-1 against a Rams lineman, but he did his job and then some.
He looked solid in pass protection too, but his winning moment came when he picked up a blitz from a smaller defender. Leatherwood struggled a week ago with missed assignments, so it was a notable improvement. Plus, he looks like an elite athlete in most of his movements, just as advertised.
The Raiders’ offense struggled mightily after running back Trey Ragas notched a nifty 4th-and-goal TD in the first quarter, with quarterback Nathan Peterman having some rough luck with poor blocking and tipped footballs that turned into two interceptions.
But in the fourth quarter, wide receiver Marcell Ateman shook his defender and was wide-open for a 29-yard TD pass from Peterman, giving Las Vegas a 17-10 lead. Drafted in coach Jon Gruden’s first year back with the Raiders in 2018, Ateman has stuck around the franchise despite scant playing time. A big-bodied type of WR the team is short on, Ateman made his case to remain a Raider on Saturday.
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