Really nothing should be a surprise anymore when it comes to Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders. Today was the perfect snapshot of the organization (or lack thereof) in Oakland.
To begin, we all know that the Raiders march to the beat of whatever drum gets Mr. Davis out of bed every morning. With the deadline looming for NFL teams to be down to the required 53-man roster all was quiet on the Oakland front. Small morsels trickled out to a hungry Raider Nation eager to learn just who they’d be cheering for in 2011.
The first to rumors were that both Walter McFadden and Lito Sheppard didn’t make the squad. McFadden’s release was shocking only in how long it took. It was pretty clear early on in his Raider days that his talents just didn’t translate to the NFL. At least not in the Raiders’ man-intensive scheme.
But that was just the beginning.
With the deadline well in the rearview mirror there was still no official word on just who the Raiders had released. Hue Jackson’s heavily cryptic conference call didn’t shed any light on the situation.
Slowly word began to spread stating that the Raiders had parted ways with Trent Edwards. Again, not a massive surprise considering how horribly he played in the last three preseason games. Still it was a move that left Oakland with Kyle Boller and eventually Terrelle Pryor behind Jason Campbell. Not exactly a reliable insurance policy.
Finally after hours of speculation the entire list of cuts was announced. Needless to say there were surprises-a-plenty.
Somehow Joe Porter parlayed a blocked kick in the preseason finale into an NFL job. Porter got the nod over the aforementioned McFadden and Sheppard plus the likes of Jeremy Ware, the surprising Sterling Moore and Stevie Brown.
You’ve got to believe the Raiders will bring back Moore to the practice squad if he clears waivers. The UFA out of SMU showed plenty of promise and could easily make an NFL roster. Perhaps Porter is viewed as Hiram Eugene’s replacement on special teams.
Speaking of special teams, the Raiders made a couple of moves with that specific unit in mind. Long time special teams contributor Sam Williams was shown the exit while Nick Miller somehow kept his spot on the roster. Miller will likely be a returner of some kind as he seems unlikely to work his way into the receiver rotation.
Another move that raised a few eyebrows was the out right release of Daniel Loper. After inking a 2-year deal just before the lockout Loper began the preseason as Robert Gallery’s replacement on the left side. Rookie Stefen Wisniewski eventually took that job. Loper is out on the street while Seth Wand has a spot on the roster. How many people had that one pegged?
Perhaps the most interesting of all is how many bodies Oakland kept on the roster at running back and tight end. Michael Bennett seemed a good bet to gone today but he shockingly kept his locker in tact. Unless the four men in front of him are all abducted by aliens, it seems unlikely Bennett will get any touches at all this season.
But that wasn’t the only position Oakland loaded up on.
Maybe a sign of just how bad Kevin Boss’ knee truly is, the Raiders kept both of their rookies David Ausberry and Richard Gordon in addition to third year man Brandon Myers.
Ausberry’s upside guaranteed he’d be a Raider. Gordon is a very good blocker and does have value but not buried deep on the depth chart.
Overall you get the feeling the Raiders aren’t done yet. At least that is the hope. Now that all NFL teams have disclosed their rosters the scramble to scavenge talent and fill the practice squad begins. I’d express hope that what the Raiders do between now and the Monday Night opener will make more sense than all we saw today but I know better than that.
Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Brandon Myers Daniel Loper David Ausberry Hiram Eugene Jason Campbell Jeremy Ware Joe Porter Kevin Boss Kyle Boller Lito Sheppard Michael Bennett Nick Miller Richard Gordon Robert Gallery Sam Williams Seth Wand Stefen Wisniewski Sterling Moore Stevie Brown Terrelle Pryor Trent Edwards Walter McFadden