The 2014 preseason is almost in the books. Those books will be placed on an out-of-the-way shelf to gather dust until the world is ready for it. At some future date, “Blake Bortles had a good, possibly very good, rookie preseason” will be an interesting tidbit in the “does the preseason matter?” discussion that we will continue to have. And Johnny Gesture will be a symbol of a simpler time.
I cannot say how last week’s 31-21 loss to Green Bay will be remembered by future generations of football nerds. But I do know what Raider Nation had to say about it afterwards, and I cannot print a single word of it.
There were bright spots, to be sure. There always are, unless you’re the Browns.
The first-string defense downright held its own against Aaron Rodgers for large stretches of the first half. On the opening drive, starring Eddie Lacy as Juggernaut, the Packers offense marched down the field for six, The Packers next three possessions netted seven yards and no first downs.
In the fourth the Raiders’ secondary fell. The Packers scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives and put themselves up 14 with 4:42 remaining in the half. Most people would call that a comfortable lead. Most People who could see how Matt Schaub was doing would have just called it.
And that’s all I have to say about that…
The Raiders’ final preseason game is on Thursday against the visiting Seahawks. It should feature almost exclusively second and third string players battling for a roster spot.
The preseason roster will become the final roster with two rounds of cuts five days apart. The first, from 90 to 75, could happen at any time between now and Tuesday at 1 pm PT. The active roster will be whittled down to 53 at 1 pm Saturday.
Here are my projections for the final roster. The 53 players are broken down by position. Following the active roster, I have also included predictions for players who will remain with the team, and with one exception, could appear on the 53-man roster at some point this season.
These players fall into a few categories.
The first is injured reserve. Players on IR are ineligible to play or participate in practice for the entirety of the 2014-2015 season. However, the Raiders can exempt one player from a season-long absence. That player is designated to return to practice after Week 6 and games after week 8.
Players who begin the regular season are physically unable to perform list (PUP) are all permitted to return the day after the Raiders’ sixth game, which, due to Oakland’s week 5 bye, places the return date the first day of week 8.
Finally, the practice squad consists of ten players who, unsurprisingly, get to practice, but not to play in games. Practice squad players are contractually free agents. As such, they may be signed to the 53-man roster on another team.
Running Back (6)
Wide Receiver (5)
Tight End (3)
Offensive Line (8)
Defensive Line (8)
*Dowling could be considered for the fourth safety position, but in the end, some gaping flaws need to be addressed on the practice field first; this spot can be filled form the waiver-wire
Special Teams (3)