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Raiders rookie report: Lots of rookies, not great results

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Oakland Raiders v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Nine rookies were active for the Raiders Sunday and all of them played significant roles. That’s a lot. Just eight games in, and sitting at 1-7, this team is well into the evaluation phase.


  • Kolton Miller
  • P.J. Hall
  • Brandon Parker
  • Arden Key
  • Nick Nelson
  • Maurice Hurst
  • Johnny Townsend
  • Trent Sieg
  • Daniel Carlson
  • Jason Cabinda


  • Marcell Ateman

Kolton Miller

Coming out of the bye, Miller appeared to finally be healthy and had his best game of the season against the Colts last Sunday. He wouldn’t last a half before aggravating that knee injury. He missed the second half of the game and the Raiders were not prepared for his exit. It was a debacle. Not because Miller is some indispensable All Pro pass protector, but because the alternative was Ian Silberman who had been working as the reserve center and Kelechi Osemele who had his own knee injury problem and moved over from left guard. Miller’s injury is one to watch.

P.J. Hall

Hall has been in the rotation at defensive tackle for a few weeks now. Thus far, he has been a non-factor on a team that can’t stop the run on any given play. Since his return in week four against the Browns, Hall has 7 combined tackles in five games.

Brandon Parker

Parker has started four games now. He has been passable at times at right tackle, but struggled along with much of the line Thursday night against the 49ers. Parker had three penalties in the first quarter — a false start, holding, and illegal formation — and was all or partially responsible for three of the 49ers’ seven sacks.

Arden Key

He still leads the team with 7 QB hits, which says more about the team than anything. Key is their best hope for mounting a pass rush each week and the result is just 7 sacks and 22 QB hits on the season — both by far the worst in the league. And that’s counting Thursday night when the rest of the league won’t play until Sunday.

Nick Nelson

In just his second game of the season, Nelson didn’t record a stat. No tackles, not passes defended in just 13 snaps. But he didn’t give up any of the big plays in those limited snaps.

Maurice Hurst

Hurst has had his moments, but he hasn’t stood out either. That’s hard to do when everything around you is toppling. Football is the ultimate team sport. Hurst is an inside pass rusher. If there is no threat from the outside — and there absolutely is not — it’s pretty hard for him to have a major impact.

Johnny Townsend

Pathetic. He is probably the worst punter in the NFL right now. Each week he punts a ball a shorter distance than he had the week before. He went from a game with punts of 28 and 27, to a 25-yarder last week, to a 23-yard punt this week. Jon Gruden needs to start showing the same lack of patience with his draft picks as he has with Reggie McKenzie’s because Townsend is already on scholarship.

Trent Sieg

All conditions normal for Sieg. No news is good news for the long snapper.

Daniel Carlson

Signed by the team as their third rookie kicker this season. The previous two were undrafted, while Carlson was selected in the 5th round by the Vikings. He made his first field goal attempt from 37 yards out, but missed from 45 off the right upright. He is now two for six on the season.

Jason Cabinda

Had four combined tackles in 15 snaps against the 49ers; his first action of the season. Paul Guenther raves about how smart Cabinda is. That was a decent first appearance, but we need to see more to make any real judgment.

Some of these guys have shown promise at times this season. But they are being asked to keep a bad Raiders team afloat. Any team relying this heavily on this many rookies is not going to be very good. And that’s an understatement for this squad.