As the Raiders start preparing for the regular season, position battles will be fought for the purpose to make the team. Some players will be competing against one another, some will compete against time but most of the players all want to simply be one of the 53 players on the team roster after the final cutdown phase occurs.
From information via the Raiders, each position will be evaluated from the team standpoint. Obviously carrying multiple players for a simple position would not warrant consideration. But some positions, an injury is all that separates a player from the bench to full-time work.
The first position that is being covered is the quarterback. In football terms this is the most important position for the offense, because if the quarterback can't throw, move the chains, hand off or think quickly, a team can stall on drives, the defense will stall out.
Being in charge of multiple plays, reading defenses, studying tape and working on the fundamentals, this all makes up the quarterback position.
For Oakland, this choice was already made when JaMarcus Russell was named the starting QB by Tom Cable. It was almost a given, considering how much time Jeff Garcia had lost in the preseason to injury and other events.
But with JaMarcus Russell locked up as the starter, what is in store for Jeff Garcia, Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye?
For Jeff Garcia, the next two games will prove pivotal that he still has the skills. In a short drive against the 49ers, Garcia was effective, using every target well, until an errant throw to Johnnie Lee Higgins deflected into an interception to end his night. in six throws he completed three passes for 18 yards. Odds are good based on his experience and time in the NFL, he'll remain second on the depth chart.
Gradkowski, who had a perfect third quarter against the 49ers, has been impressive against both the Cowboys and 49ers, and has 12 completions for 205 yards and two touchdowns. His stats this preseason are better than JaMarcus Russell, however this can also be attributed to his playing against second or third team defenses. It would be interesting to see if Cable would have a contest between Bruce and Jeff for the number two spot on the depth chart, but it would take a major failure on Garcia's part for him to lose the number two spot.
Lastly, is Charlie Frye. Charlie had some good points and some bad points from the preseason. He led the team in rushing against the 49ers, with 16 yards with most of it coming during the touchdown scramble late to bring the Raiders within a point of tying it up in the fourth quarter. He also has a better completion percentage than Garcia or Gradkowski. On 17 attempts he has 10 completions for 127 yards. The two items that bring mention was the interception he threw in the fourth quarter against the 49ers that set up the go-ahead touchdown and his failed attempt at a two point conversion, with an incomplete toss to Will Franklin leaving the Raiders down by one.
Overall, the Raiders will probably not keep a fourth quarterback on the team and barring any major changes or injury, the depth chart will show
Jamarcus Russell-Jeff Garcia-Bruce Gradkowski
Charlie Frye(released)-last roster cuts