RENTON – For the Seahawks’ starters, Thursday’s exhibition finale at Oakland is one last necessary check to mark off before turning to the regular season.
They’ll make cameo appearances, then turn their attention to the season opener a week from Thursday against Green Bay.
But for many others, the 7 p.m. game against the Raiders represents one last chance to make an impression before the Seahawks have to set their 53-man regular- season roster. Seattle, which like all NFL teams currently has 75 players on its roster, will have to make its final cuts by 1 p.m. Saturday.
“There are a number of competitions where it’s one guy or the other,’’ Carroll said. “So we are going to take all of the information in, and we have not made our decisions at this point, our final choices. So it’s exciting to see these guys there and going for it.’’
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A look at the key battles remaining at each position group:
• Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson seems set as the backup. But Terrelle Pryor should get plenty of playing time against the Raiders to present a case that he also deserves a roster spot. B.J. Daniels might also play against the Raiders and seems a logical practice-squad candidate, at least. Seattle has kept three quarterbacks on its opening day roster just once in Carroll’s four previous years as coach.
• Receiver: Four receivers are locks — Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson. Ricardo Lockette, who has impressed with his special-teams play, also seems to have a good hold on a spot. But from there it’s muddy. Bryan Walters is healthy again and could earn a spot with his return ability. Phil Bates was an early camp standout. Complicating matters is the status of rookie Kevin Norwood, who has not played in the preseason due to a foot injury. He’s expected to be back next week, and if so, would also surely command a spot on the 53-man roster.
• Running back: The news is that Christine Michael won’t play at Oakland after suffering a hamstring injury Tuesday. The team then brought back Demitrius Bronson on Wednesday to have more depth at tailback. A big question is if Seattle will keep four running backs, or five. If it’s just four, Spencer Ware, a sixth-round pick in 2013, could be the odd man out. But with Michael injured, Ware should get an extended look against the Raiders.
• Tight end: Cooper Helfet appeared in good shape for a spot if the team decided to keep three tight ends. But he suffered a knee injury against the Bears and is likely out against the Raiders. Seattle could decide to go with just Zach Miller and Luke Willson at tight end.
• Offensive line: Rookie Justin Britt has won the right tackle job. The Seahawks, though, need to get left tackle Russell Okung rounded back into football shape and to sort out the final spot or two. Does former Bellevue High star Stephen Schilling make it?
• Defensive line: Players whose fates might still be unclear include ends Benson Mayowa and Greg Scruggs and tackle D’Anthony Smith. Mayowa was a camp sensation in 2013, but has fallen behind O’Brien Schofield — one of the surprises of camp this year — as a backup rush end.
• Linebacker: Korey Toomer, a 2012 draft pick who has battled injuries and has yet to play in a regular-season game, missed the first two exhibition games and saw limited action last week. Carroll said Bruce Irvin might return next week, which will only make the linebacker spot that much more crowded.
• Secondary: The news this week that A.J. Jefferson is out for the year could open up the final cornerback spot for Phillip Adams, who can play nickel and also handle returns. Jeremy Lane is nursing a mild groin injury, so Adams should get lots of work Thursday, as should Akeem Auguste.
• Special teams: Earl Thomas is going to return some punts this year — that has become clear. But he’s not going to return all of them. As noted earlier, their ability as returners could help Walters and/or Adams earn spots, and each should get chances against the Raiders.