Oakland Raiders: Projecting Final 53-Man Roster After Preseason Week 2
If the preseason is a harbinger of football to come, Raider Nation has plenty of fumbles, interceptions, injuries and losses to look forward to come September.
The defense played relatively well against Dallas and Arizona, and certain facets of the offense seemed to click at times. Golf claps for minimizing penalties as well. Still, it would be nice to get a win and make a proper statement before the regular season heats up.
Head coach Dennis Allen said himself in a conference call with media on Saturday:
We’re a work in progress offensively, defensively, and in special teams. I’m not real concerned about it because I know we’re going to get it corrected and we’ll get where we need to get to.
As the Silver and Black march towards their regular season home opener against the San Diego Chargers, let's see how the team's final 53-man roster is shaping up and if there is a cause or two for concern.
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QB: Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor
Sorry, Kyle Newhall-Caballero, but it would seem the Raiders have made their bed and now must sleep in it. Despite shaky starts from Palmer and Pryor in the preseason, including multiple interceptions and trips to sack town, Palmer will start, Leinart will quietly play backup and Pryor will pretend to be busy somewhere.
RB/FB: Darren McFadden, Taiwan Jones, Mike Goodson, Marcel Reece, Owen Schmitt
This is one of the trickier positions to project. It's hard to gauge just how reliable new addition Mike Goodson is going to be when every other day, he's getting injured or fumbling. This may open a spot up for outside shot Lonyae Miller, who has not played well enough yet to guarantee himself a spot.
WR: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Rod Streater, Juron Criner, Eddie McGee
Jacoby Ford's sprained left foot should not hurt the receiver's status on the depth chart, although it will be interesting to see if the Raiders go with six wideouts to pad the inevitable damage, which is where late-round draft picks like Criner may prove valuable in time.
Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp must be happy with Rod Streater pulling in 13 catches in two games. He's got to be a lock at this point.
TE: Brandon Myers, Richard Gordon, David Ausberry
It would not be a big surprise if former Saints tight end Tory Humphrey ends up on the roster, but for now, it seems Myers and Gordon are the two leading candidates for the job. Myers impressed during training camp, but suffered a shoulder injury in practice, so this position battle is by no means over.
Ausberry has the receiving skills to put up a fight for the starting spot as well.
OL: Jared Veldheer, Cooper Carlisle, Stefen Wisniewski, Mike Brisiel, Khalif Barnes, Alex Parsons, Joe Barksdale, Tony Bergstrom
The starting line seems well in place as it adjusts to a new zone-blocking scheme. What is harder to project is whether injuries will open up some playing time for third-round draft pick Bergstrom or second-year tackle Barksdale. Practice squad member Zach Hurd may have a shot at the final roster if someone gets hurt in the next few weeks. Not so sure about players like Lucas Nix or Kevin Haslam.
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DL: Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Lamarr Houston, Matt Shaughnessy, Dave Tollefson, Desmond Bryant, Christo Bilukidi, Jack Crawford, Jamie Cumbie
Defensive end Tommy Kelly gave the sports world something to talk about after his safety/diss of Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb in the Raiders' 31-27 loss to Arizona. Oakland's starters seem well in place, but after that, it should be fun to see if new acquisitions like Tollefson amount to much or if Cumbie steps up after spending last season on the practice squad.
LB: Philip Wheeler, Rolando McClain, Miles Burris, Travis Goethel, Aaron Curry, Carl Ihenacho, Nathan Stupar
The Raider Nation Times recently reported that linebacker Aaron Curry is officially back after missing all of camp with knee injuries, which may help solve the depth problems Oakland has at the position. It would not be surprising to see the Raiders possibly pick up a free agent as rookie Burris and backup Goethel continue working to improve.
DB: Ron Bartell, Shawntae Spencer, Michael Huff, Tyvon Branch, Matt Giordano, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Mike Mitchell, Pat Lee, Chimdi Chekwa
Not too many surprises here, although it will be intriguing to see what becomes of Chekwa and Van Dyke should the preseason continue to progress as it has. Van Dyke has been disappointing in two games following a successful training camp.
Cornerback Pat Lee has made good strides since coming in from Green Bay. He has a better chance than players like Curtis Taylor and Aaron Henry.
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ST: Sebastian Janikowski, Shane Lechler, Jon Condo
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski and punter Shane Lechler will be workhorses once again for the Raiders, and the sooner Lechler returns from his knee injury, the better, because Raider Nation cannot take another Marquette King blocked kick returned for a touchdown.
There is no easy way to project a 53-man roster, but with every week, certain players rise to the occasion while others fall through the cracks. Oakland's game against the Detroit Lions this Saturday will be a prime opportunity to see who plans of stepping up this season and who is slowing down the Silver and Black Attack.
Until then, what do you think of the Raiders' prospective final roster? Who deserves a spot and who needs to go?