By Steve Corkran
Friday, August 31st, 2012 at 9:17 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders pared 22 players from their roster Friday night in the final mandatory cutdown. One gets the sense that general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen are far from finished shaping the roster in advance of the regular-season opener.
As expected, the Raiders kept veteran outside linebacker Aaron Curry on the physically unable to perform list as a result of his sore knees. Beyond that, there wasn’t any real surprise among the moves.
Perhaps more surprising, the Raiders kept cornerback Coye Francies, who was signed Wednesday, and ended up with four recently undrafted free agents making the team – wide receiver Rod Streater, guard Lucas Nix, defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie (2011) and linebacker Carl Ihenacho (2010).
Curry is ineligible to practice or play in any regular-season games for the first six weeks of the season. He can be activated during a 21-day window beyond the first six weeks.
Curry has not practiced for more than two months. Allen was hopeful that Curry’s knees would respond to treatments from a specialist in Southern California. To no avail.
As a result, rookie Miles Burris is slated to being the season in Curry’s place as the starting weak-side linebacker.
The Raiders are off Saturday and Sunday. McKenzie and Allen no doubt will be spending an inordinate amount of time scouring the waiver wire.
“Whatever moves we feel like give us a chance to be better, we’re going to make those moves,” Allen said in a conference call about 90 minutes before the Raiders submitted their moves. “We’re evaluating any and all positions to see if there’s someone out there that can help us.”
Based on the way the Raiders reserves played Thursday night in the team’s exhibition finale, it’s likely the Raiders can find a few upgrades from the more than 1,000 players purged from rosters leaguewide this week.
Few of Oakland’s projected starters played beyond the opening offensive and defensive series. Hence, the projected backups and roster hopefuls got plenty of playing time.
Allen wasn’t thrilled by much of what he saw, he said.
“That’s been a concern, the depth on our roster,” Allen said. “It just reconfirmed that we have to upgrade the bottom half of the roster because depth is a concern.”
Linebacker Nathan Stupar is the only member of Oakland’s 2012 draft class that didn’t make the 53-man roster despite shining against the Seahawks on Thursday night, Allen said.
“It’s been a little bit of an up-and-down deal with Nate,” Allen said before cuts were announced, “but he came out (Thursday) and played and acted like he wanted to try to get a spot on this roster.”
Apparently, it was a case of too little, too late for Stupar. Now, he has to hope he clears waivers and the Raiders decide to sign him to their practice squad.
Teams are permitted to sign as many as eight players to their practice squad once the waiver period has ended Saturday.
In other news, Allen said the handful of players who have been injured for more than a week worked out Friday. Therefore, he is hopeful that some or all of them will be healthy enough to play in the regular-season opener Sept. 10.
That list includes wide receivers Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore, center Stefen Wisniewski and defensive tackle Richard Seymour.