SEATTLE -- There were not many bright spots for the Raiders in their 21-3 exhibition finale loss Thursday night but Bryan McCann may have saved a roster spot for himself.After newly-acquired returners Roscoe Parrish and Coye Francies fumbled all of their returns, McCann relatively shined, returning one punt 18 yards and a kickoff 26 yards. He also broke up a deep pass from Josh Portis to Charly Martin on a fourth and 10.And that was the play he was most proud of making.
"The defense had been out there a couple of plays and we had the penalty on the punt, and to turn it around and let them stay on the field after that fourth down would have been a big blow to the team," McCann said. "So I think that had a bigger impact than the punt return did."Roscoe Parrish, who entered the game with a career 12.0-yards per punt return average, may have sealed his fate, losing one punt on a fumble and muffing the second, when he seemed to be having trouble with his helmet."You have to protect the ball," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "He has done a nice job in the NFL as a returner, so I don't know if the one night defines who he is. But obviously, he had a rough night tonight."Sixth-round draft pick Christo Bilukidi started at defensive tackle in place of Tommy Kelly and played most of the game, finishing with four tackles, including one for a loss.And as a draft pick, he should feel safe about making the 53-man roster, yes?"It's like the reverse of draft day," he said. "On draft day you're waiting for the phone call. Tomorrow, you don't want that phone call to happen."I was confident. I know I can make this roster, or if not this roster, I know I can make (one of the other) 31 rosters. I work hard in practice. I work hard in games. So I'm pretty confident in myself."Seventh-rounder Nate Stupar had a game-high 11 tackles with a sack, three tackles for a loss and a quarterback hurryEddie McGee led the Raiders with three catches on three targets for 36 yards, including a 36 yarderquarterback Terrelle Pryor led the Raiders in preseason rushing with 121 yards on 14 carries, while Lonyae Miller was second with 106 yards on 36 carriesDarren McFadden averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
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.”