The first set of cuts is nearly over with the deadline on Tuesday, August 27th, at 6:00 PM EST, fast approaching. The injury bug struck the Oakland Raiders quickly at the beginning of training camp when the Raiders lost 9 players to injury within the first couple of days. Along with those injuries was Linebacker Kaluka Maiava. The free agent who had been with the Cleveland Browns in recent years made it back to practice today, August 26th.
Maiava had been sharing time at Strong Side Linebacker with Kevin Burnett through OTA’s, Mini-Camp, and the first couple of days of training camp. However, he wasn’t able to return until today. Head Coach Dennis Allen was asked about the evaluation of Maiava and he stated, “It’s been a challenge. We haven’t had a real opportunity to watch him. He got hurt fairly early in training camp, so we haven’t had a real opportunity to see a lot of evaluation on him. We’ll have to make a decision here in 10 days or so on where he fits.” These words from Coach Allen may be the reason why Maiava came out to practice.
Let’s face it, there are many hungry and willing linebackers ready to play for the Raiders, and Maiava hadn’t been giving the coaching staff anything to look at. His only saving grace is the fact that he had been a starter for the Browns, and the coaching staff has a lot of tape to look at. However, it is unknown if he will fit in the defensive scheme the Raiders are running. With LB-Miles Burris and T-Jared Veldheer on injured reserve until their return, I don’t envision the Raiders hanging onto dead weight as they move forward in the rebuilding of this team. Hopefully he can give the Raiders an added threat on the defense, but he has a very short window of opportunity to show the coaching staff he can do just that. Furthermore, it is unknown if the NFL will be placing a suspension on Maiava for the drunk and disorderly misconduct that occurred in Hawaii earlier this year.