The Las Vegas Raiders took a long look at former Cal quarterback Chase Garbers, who played the entire second half in the Raiders’ 15-13 win over the Miami Dolphins in a preseason game on Saturday.
Former Cal outside linebacker Cameron Goode had a strong game for the Dolphins in his bid to make Miami’s regular season roster as a rookie, but we’ll focus on Garbers first.
Garbers’ numbers in his third NFL preseason game were good – 6-for-9, 54 passing yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions, 82.6 passer rating, 44 rushing yards, two sacks. But the fact that the Raiders gave him so much playing time suggests they like what they’ve seen in Garbers so far and want to make a decision on what they want to do with him. Unfortunately, Garbers didn’t make a positive impression on the final pass play that was called, which we’ll touch on later.
In his three preseason games, Garbers is 12-for-18 for 108 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
He ranks as the Raiders’ fourth-team quarterback, and with Derek Carr the undisputed starter and Jarrett Stidham his presumed backup, Garbers would have to beat out Nick Mullens for the No. 1 spot. 3, and that assumes Las Vegas would hold three. quarterback instead of two. The fact that the Raiders signed Garbers as an undrafted free agent doesn’t help his cause.
Mullens has made 17 NFL regular-season starts and was 6-for-9 for 39 yards, no TDs or picks and a 75.7 passer rating Saturday.
Teams have to trim their rosters to 80 players by Tuesday, and Garbers hopes he can stick around for next weekend’s final preseason game. On Aug. 30, two days after the final exhibition game, teams must cut down to 53-man regular-season rosters.
Garbers entered the game on the Raiders’ first offensive possession of the second half and played the rest of the game. His most impressive contribution was his ability to scramble. At Cal, he set a school record for career rushing by a quarterback, and he had two long touchdowns Saturday.
He was 3-for-4 for 11 yards on his first drive, which ended with a field goal. He scrambled for 18 yards on the fifth play of that drive and had another 7-yard run negated by an offensive line penalty. He also had an incompletion on that possession erased by a defensive penalty.
Garbers threw his best pass of the day on the second possession, a 24-yard shoulder completion to Jesper Horsted.
“That’s a really nice throw,” Raiders TV analyst Matt Millen said.
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The Raiders didn’t score on that possession, but they did manage a field goal on the next play — a nine-play, 62-yard drive by Garbers that ended with what became the game-winning field goal.
Garbers set up the field goal with a 28-yard scramble on the first play of that drive. But he got a chance to make a big impression when the Raiders faced a third-and-goal from the Dolphins’ 4-yard line. But Garbers couldn’t find a receiver on that play, waited too long and was sacked.
As the TV analysts noted, “The ball has to go out.”
When the Dolphins then missed a field goal that would have put them ahead with 1:34 left, the Raiders simply ran out the clock on the Garbers’ final possession.
It was on the Raiders’ final possession that Goode put a damper on what had been a strong performance. On the first play of that drive in Las Vegas, Raiders running back Brittain Brown picked off Goode, who failed to set the edge and ran for 36 yards. That won’t look good on tape, but the rest of Goode’s performance was impressive as he also played the entire second half.
Goode made a big play on the Raiders’ first drive of the second half by stopping Brown for a 1-yard loss after Brown caught a pass from Garbers on a second-and-13 play from Miami’s 14-yard line. That was crucial because there were questions about whether Goode would be able to cover running backs as a space pass receiver. Goode also made two stops for gains of 2 yards apiece on runs on that possession.
He finished the game with five tackles, including three solo stops and a tackle for loss. That’s in addition to his impressive numbers in his previous preseason game — six tackles, including five solo stops, a pass defensed and a fumble recovery.
Goode, a seventh-round pick of the Dolphins last spring, is listed as Miami’s third-team weakside outside linebacker, so he has to do something special.
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