The Oakland Raiders may not have made any big splashes with their cut list from Saturday afternoon, but I must say that for me, personally, I was a bit confused by some of their choices. Certainly, I could narrow my list down to just a handful of guys who I thought should be kept or released. One thing that definitely catches my attention is the recently documented drama with the safeties.
The Raiders kept almost every 2010 rookie on their 53-man roster with one exception, 7th round pick Stevie Brown. I thought that Brown played so well that it was finally time to say goodbye to a consistent but never outstanding player named Hiram Eugene. Evidently there are reports that the Raiders wanted to keep free safeties Brown, Eugene, and Michael Huff while parting ways with both back-up strong safeties Mike Mitchell and Jerome Boyd.
To this point it still makes no sense to me why you would want to have three so-so free safeties and only one strong safety. So I'm just going to throw that whole theory right out the window now as if it never happened. Nevertheless, I still think Stevie Brown as a rookie is greater than Hiram Eugene as a veteran to be the back-up to Huff. But the fact of the matter is that it doesn't really matter what I think as long as Brown is eligible for the practice squad.
In another puzzling twist of fate, the Raiders released defensive end Jay Richardson. Richardson has been a reliable back-up for the team and fit the criteria of what the Raiders were looking for in their front seven on defense with his 280-pound bulk. Either the injury to Richardson's knee was worse than originally reported or the Raiders just committed defensive end suicide. I hope they don't expect Richardson to hang around like William Joseph does, because I just don't see that happening. I think some team will take the bait on Jay Richardson and he will be successful and could even eventually become a starter somewhere.
According to Vittorio Tafur, the initial announcement of Jay Richardson's release has been overruled as the Raiders decided to place Richardson on the IR list. Richardson has started 22 games in three years for the Raiders and the move to cut him left some folks, myself included,scratching their heads.
According to Raiders.com, DE Alex Daniels and CB Joey Thomas will join the list as well. Currently, the Raiders already have QB Charlie Frye and WR Jonathan Holland on IR for the season.
But for Richardson, it could still mark the end of the road with the Raiders. He was penciled in to make $550 K this year, but would be a free agent at the end of the season. Still, I see no plausible reason why the Raiders wouldn't let Richardson just get healthy and come back next year at 100 percent and give him another try with a 75-man roster throughout most of training camp.
Continuing the moves that made my brain feel all scrambled inside, the Raiders decided to keep Sam Williams around for another year. I'm not sure there is another team in the league that puts so much value into their special teams unit, but here's the real kicker for me, the coverage units, which are supposed to be where Williams excels, have just plain flat-out sucked this preseason. I know Williams made some big hits, well a couple and none like the Mike Mitchell hit on Justin Forsett, but this was supposed to be one of those guys who was so "tough to cut" in my opinion. His shoes can definitely be filled.
Even if the Raiders plan to use Trevor Scott exclusively as a back-up to Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy, Williams presence on the roster gives the Raiders seven linebackers (not including John Condo) to play three positions: Thomas Howard, Ricky Brown, Travis Goethel, Rolando McClain, Williams, Quentin Groves, and Kamerion Wimbley.
Most definitely, from that group, Brown and Williams could've both taken the next train out of town and the Raiders would be just as well off without them. Brown is a tough competitor but his small 235 pound frame was not cut out for playing linebacker in the NFL and he definitely does not fit the mold of the "trying to get bigger" atmosphere around Raiders camp this year.
Nonetheless, it is a solid unit that the Raiders have this year, but I'm going to say this very politely, Al Davis better get back up on his horsey and ride back off to wherever it is that he goes when he is just letting the coach do their job. I don't like this new "secrecy movement" that Tom Cable has had with the press lately and I got a feeling the Davis' are the cohorts behind some of this roster mischief as well.
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