Sept. 3, 2011
RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERSVIDEO
The NFL-mandated deadline to have rosters cut down to 53 players was at 3 p.m. PT this afternoon. And while there is no reason to believe the Raiders missed it, almost two-and-a-half hours later, they had not made their cuts public.Neither, though, had Jacksonville, Seattle or Washington.It all lends credence to the notion that the Raiders were scouring the waiver wires in anticipation of adding a player or two and, thus, making more cuts."As you know, this is a process," Jackson did say. "And as I told you, we're just going to continue to uncover every opportunity that we can to get this team better. Obviously, there's nothing that's totally in ink just yet. The league didn't say it all had to be there right this second. We know there's deadlines that we need to adhere by, but we are always trying to make this team better."Whatever the deal, Raiders senior executive John Herrera said the roster would not be revealed for "at least two hours" and coach Hue Jackson would not address any transactions in his 4 p.m. conference call with beat reporters, who had asked if the call could be moved until after the roster was posted, to no avail.Jackson said he would address the roster specifics following Sunday's practice (Oakland goes at 12:30 p.m. at its Alameda compound).Still several reports surfaced during the day that had four defensive backs among the 26 players Oakland cut -- two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard, who had signed with the Raiders eight days earlier and saw his lone preseason action Friday at Seattle, and three 2010 draft picks in fifth-round cornerback Stevie Johnson, seventh-round cornerback Jeremy Ware and seventh-round safety Stevie Brown.Asked how Ware and Brown had acquitted themselves this preseason, Jackson said, "You're talking about two young men who've been here, who came back, ready to compete and give it everything they've got and I think those young men went out there every day and competed. Obviously, Jeremy had a little ding (ankle injury) here and there but I think the guys, as far as training camp is concerned, came to work everyday and went to the games and played as well as they could play."
The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.
They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.
Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.
“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”
While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.
The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.
“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.
"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”
Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.
Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.
Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.
“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”
Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.
“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”