Countdown to kickoff

OAKLAND, Calif. – Greetings from Oakland-Alameda County Stadium on a hot – but gorgeous – evening, as the Seahawks prepare to play the Raiders in their preseason finale.

Preseason finale? Hard to believe. Training camp seemed to zip by, and the preseason also has come and now almost gone just as quickly.

It’s unlikely that the starters will play much – if at all – tonight. But the fourth preseason game is a time for the younger players and veterans who might be on the bubble to state their final case for a spot on the roster that will be trimmed to 53 on Saturday. And don’t call it the final 53-man roster, because with the way general manager John Schneider has been wheeling and dealing since he arrived in January, you can bet the Seahawks will dip into the pool of available players after other teams make their cuts.

Here are a few things to ponder as you await the 7 p.m. kickoff on KING-TV and 97.3 FM and 710 ESPN Radio:

Will we get our first look at Tyler Polumbus, the offensive tackle who was acquire on Monday in a trade with the Detroit Lions? Mansfield Wrotto started at left tackle in Saturday night’s game against the Vikings in Minnesota, because first-round draft choice Russell Okung (ankle) and backup Ray Willis (knee) are out with injuries and Chester Pitts just started practicing this week after having microfracture knee surgery last season. You can find out more about the 6-foot-8 Polumbus here.

How will the nickel defense perform now that cornerback Josh Wilson has been traded to the Baltimore Ravens? Rookie Walter Thurmond is replacing Wilson as the third corner who covers the slot receiver, and could push Kelly Jennings for the starting spot on the right side. Click here for more on Thurmond and the impressive return of the fourth-round draft choice from tearing three ligaments in his right knee while playing at Oregon last September.

Ben Obomanu is among the returning veterans who could be playing for a roster spot tonight. But this is nothing new for the versatile wide receiver/special teams performer. He has been here before.

While most players could do without a fourth preseason game, especially one that comes five days after the third game, backup QB Charlie Whitehurst is not one of them. “It’s probably not something you’ll hear a lot of guys say, but I’m glad that we have this fourth game,” Whitehurst told the Seattle Times. “For a lot of guys, and I’m probably in the same boat, you don’t know when you’ll really get to play again so you have to make the most of the situation.” For Percy Allen’s full story on Whitehurst, click here.

We’ll be back later with the list of players who are out for tonight’s game.


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