Denarius Moore making a comeback?
Heading into Oakland's first preseason game, it was already known that Moore had fallen on the Raiders' wide receiver depth chart. But the extent to which the coaches had lost faith in him wasn't known until ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez noted that Moore wasn't just fighting for playing time:
Moore started 35 of the 41 NFL games in which he's played, including 10 of 13 a season ago. His playmaking ability should separate him from the rest of the Raiders receiving corps. But being listed third at a receiver spot, behind Andre Holmes and James Jones, not only put his starting position in jeopardy, but also seemingly places him squarely on the 53-man-roster bubble.
The questions about Moore's dedication have been around since he entered the league, and they were still present this training camp. However, last week's performance suggests that he might finally have turned the corner. He was one of Oakland's best wide receivers against Minnesota, and he's continued to impress in practice. If he keeps this up, he could once again find himself challenging for a starting spot.
Raiders show unity
With so many new faces on the roster, one of the biggest concerns was how quickly the team would be able develop cohesion. This was evident during the Oakland's first preseason game. According to tight end Mychal Rivera, per CSNBayArea.com's Scott Bair, the joint practices against Dallas, specifically the fights that ensued, might have been just what Raiders needed to build this unity:
We’re all brothers here, and you learn that when things get competitive like they were the past couple days. We were all fired up, and we had each other’s back every step of the way. You need that support throughout the course of a season.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio expressed concerns regarding the fights and the involvement of some fans. Fortunately, the situation never escalated beyond a training camp skirmish. As for Oakland, it seems to have brought the team closer. Bair notes that when a fight broke out, Raiders were quick to come to the aid of a teammate.
It might not have happened in the ideal way, but if this is what it takes for Oakland's collection of players to become a team, the Raiders will take it.
Raiders suddenly very thin at tight end
Leading up to training camp, the Raiders looked like they might have a group of tight ends—Davis Ausberry, Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa—ready to surprise the league. That idea took a major hit when Ausberry went down with a knee injury he still hasn't returned from. Now, it looks like the team will have to do without Kasa for all of 2014, per Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk:
Allen said that preliminary tests show that Nick Kasa tore his ACL during Tuesday’s joint practice with the Cowboys. The injuries leave the Raiders with Mychal Rivera and not much else at tight end, which may necessitate a roster move.
Ausberry could be back for the first week of the regular season, but as CSNBayArea.com's Scott Bair reports, he's still "out indefinitely." As for Kasa, the diagnosis hasn't been made official yet, but it's likely he does in fact have a torn ACL, so he'll be out all year.
Kasa wasn't considered a threat as a receiver, but he did have value as a blocker and on special teams. With Ausberry's injury, he had moved up to second on the depth chart and was certainly going to have the opportunity to prove his worth as a pass-catcher. That'll no longer be the case.
For now, that leaves only Rivera as a reliable option. Another tight end currently on the roster could step up, but that hasn't been the case so far in camp. Oakland now finds itself scrambling to fill the mostly nonexistent depth chart at the position.