I doubt we’ll ever get the real story of what happened Saturday afternoon when Stevie Brown practiced with the Raiders, talked to the media about making the team, and then found out later he was sadly mistaken.
I’ve already posted the thoughts of Andy Slater, the Florida sport radio talk show host who was tracking the story all day, saying it was Mike Mitchell that the coaches wanted cut.
(Slater’s bio at his radio station says he worked for the Raiders doing film cut-ups. It doesn’t say when. One current longtime Raiders employee and another employee who dated back to the 2000 season said they’d never heard of him).
You can count on Tom Cable saying Sunday that everyone was in agreement, that tough choices had to be made, etc.
Surely it was a big deal to Brown, who could still surface on the practice squad, and Mitchell, who expressed confidence Saturday night he had made the team.
But when it comes down to it, the much bigger story was the ascension of Jared Veldheer, a third-round draft pick out of Division II Hillsdale, to starting center. He’ll have a direct impact on how the Raiders fare in their opening game Sept. 12 against the Tennessee Titans.
Even if Brown had made the roster, there is no guarantee he would be active on game day. He’s played most of the preseason as a single deep safety, while Mitchell, except for a practice or two, has been a strong safety playing closer to the line of scrimmage.
The fact that the Raiders kept Hiram Eugene, who does play the free safety position, means he must have still been listed ahead of Brown.
I’ve already had plenty of correspondence with readers about whatever problems the coaching staff with Mitchell, and my honest answer is I don’t know. He’s a little high strung and high maintenance. He’s usually of a mind, when playing defense, to be overly aggressive and overpursue while looking for the big play and the big hit. But he practices every day and has some real qualities as a physical safety.
Brown is a seventh-round draft pick, Mitchell a second-rounder and neither may ascend to the role of starter.
Nice fodder for cutdown day, though.
Note: Luke Lawton is on the suspended list, not the cut list. He is still property of the Raiders and the club can either activate him after Week 2 or release him.