A Bay Area News Group NFL special section was delivered to subscribers Sunday and also available at 7-Eleven stores for $4.95. It’s in a magazine format, and far and away the most impressive presentation for which I’ve been involved in some 30 years in the business.
Anyway, the copy deadline for this section was a few weeks ago. By the time I was covering the Raiders in Oxnard, everything had been filed _ including a profile on quarterback Matt Schaub. Anyway, the Schaub profile still holds up in terms of a guy who was trying to get his career back on track even as events in the last month have made for skepticism.
Was required to file a “projected” 53-man roster and was interested to see who I’d picked and who didn’t make it. The following were my mistakes in selecting the roster in early to mid-August:
Players I didn’t have on the roster:
TE Brian Leonhardt: Know the coaches liked him, but believed the Raiders would pick up a tight end off waiver wire to pair with Mychal Rivera.
DE Benson Mayowa: No way to know this one. He was a waiver claim Sunday. Kaelin Burnett, who originally survived as I’d predicted, was waived/injured to make room.
CB Neiko Thorpe: Was still sitting out with a hamstring injury when Raiders were in Oxnard. However, as coach Dennis Allen said, he “picked up where he left off” when healthy and earned a spot.
S Usama Young: Had been out since the beginning of camp with a quad injury during the first Napa training run. Just goes to show how much experience counts, because Young finished last season on injured reserve with a neck injury.
WR Brice Butler: Thought he was behind Greg Little, Denarius Moore and Andre Holmes, not to mention roster locks James Jones and Rod Streater. Butler kept producing, however, making it impossible to leave him off the roster.
Five players I had on the roster who didn’t make it:
WR Greg Jenkins: Coaches liked his special teams skills and thought he might figure as a punt return prospect. TJ Carrie took care of the latter issue.
RB Jeremy Stewart: Another core special teams player and occasional running back that the team thought was replaceable.
SS Brandian Ross: To be kind, Ross struggled last season in a starting role. He actually made some plays during training camp this year, but he didn’t fare well in his extended trial in 2013.
WR Greg Little: Catching everything in sight with the occasional drop early in camp, Little began dropping balls more frequently and wasn’t coming up with the high-point catches or deep catches he was early on.
LB Kaelin Burnett: Core special teams player who had an a knee injury and was waived/injured when Raiders brought aboard Mayowa.