Saturday, September 5, 2009
Raiders: Cutdown analysis
By Bill Williamson
Posted by ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson
Biggest surprise: The Raiders had some surprises Saturday. The biggest shocker, of course, was the decision to bounce backup quarterback Jeff Garcia. He signed expecting to be the Raiders’ starter. The Raiders stayed loyal to the young JaMarcus Russell and the Garcia marriage never worked. Cutting defensive tackle Terdell Sands was surprising because the Raiders paid him a $1.9 million bonus this year. But with his recent play, Sands was worthy of being released. The team also cut return man Justin Miller, who played well last season. But the team has Johnnie Lee Higgins and undrafted rookie Nick Miller stood out, making Miller expendable. Also, fourth-round pick Slade Norris was cut. That’s pretty high for a pick to get cut as a rookie. He could be claimed.
No brainers: The Raiders fell in love with undrafted rookies Desmond Bryant, a defensive tackle, and Nick Miller. It was Bryant’s play that made Sands expendable and it was Nick Miller’s play that made Justin Miller expendable. Maybe Oakland should forego late-round picks and just concentrate on undrafted players. Both Bryant and Miller could be a diamond in the rough, while Norris will go down as another bad choice. Oakland cut sixth-round pick Stryker Sulak before camp started and cut 2008 fourth-round pick Arman Shields before camp started this year as well.
What’s next: The Raiders will likely look for help on both sides of the ball. Oakland may look at veteran receivers to go with their youngsters. The team is also thin at offensive line. Oakland will also likely look for big run stuffers on the defensive front and at linebacker to help stop the bleeding against the run.