ALAMEDA, Calif. -- A 1-3 record during the preseason did little to discourage the Raiders, a team which believes that training camp and practice games have done nothing to dim an optimism that the franchise has a legitimate shot at its first playoff appearance since 2002.
"Obviously, we feel this team made a lot of progress," coach Jack Del Rio said after the Raiders sat out most of their starters in a 23-21 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks. "We stayed relatively healthy -- thank God for that -- and we're gearing up for the regular season."
There was only one major injury of note.
Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. sustained a hip injury in the first preseason game that could land him on injured reserve, meaning he would miss at least the first seven games of the season and potentially all year if a marquee player were to get hurt within the first couple of games of the season.
While the Raiders believe they are of playoff caliber, Del Rio made sure even their most established players got plenty of work in the preseason.
Ideally, if the franchise were to take the next step, the Raiders would be sitting their two top players for much of games that don't count.
But the Raiders haven't been winners yet, the training camp and the preseason has been all about establishing a tone and work ethic, and along those lines Del Rio rolled the dice in a sense his best players would come through unscathed.
The last preseason game did not find starters along the sideline out of uniform. Everyone suited up, even if they didn't play.
And at least two projected starters -- strong safety Karl Joseph and defensive end Jihad Ward -- were in the lineup and playing extensively. The Raiders' top two draft picks have been plugged in as Week 1 starters since the first day of camp.
Joseph, a first-round draft pick, was even covering kickoffs in the third quarter against Seattle.
Ward's presence becomes crucial with the loss of Edwards for an undetermined amount of time with his hip condition.
The preseason finale found the Raiders leading 2-0 at halftime and 5-3 going into the fourth quarter before the Seahawks outscored the Raiders 20-16 in the fourth.
After a 1-yard run by George Atkinson III got the Raiders within 16-14 with 2:17 to play, Del Rio even went for two points, going for the dreaded tie that would extend the preseason for a sudden death period if converted.
Third-string Connor Cook was stopped short of the goal line when he attempted break to his right and tie the game.
Again, it was Del Rio pushing an attitude upon a developing team he hopes is undergoing a culture change. Yes, it was pre-season. But don't ever think of letting up.
"A lot of guys gave us a good look and good effort," Del Rio said. "You always like to win. Any time we're keeping score, we want to win. We want to compete. I thought our guys did compete."
NOTES: T Austin Howard, who opened the last exhibition game at left tackle, left because of an ankle injury that is not believed to be serious. ... RB Jalen Richard, who could make the team as an undrafted free agent, left the game against Seattle because of a shoulder injury that is not believed to be serious. ... LB Neiron Ball missed the game against Seattle because of an undetermined injury and could be headed for release or injured reserve after being slow to recover from two off-season knee surgeries.
--RB Marcel Reece will continue his four-game suspension started in Week 17 last season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing drugs. ... LB Shilique Calhoun, a third-round draft pick, had a sack, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits against Seattle. ... RB George Atkinson III scored two touchdowns, has an NFL-high five in the preseason, and is not a lock to make the 53-man roster.