As one can imagine, having to tell a player he’s not making the team has to be one of the hardest things to do in sports. Regardless of the situation, it really sucks. Usually, players get a chance during summer camp and the preseason to show they’ve got what it takes to make the roster.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, there won’t be any games for those fringe players to get their final opportunity, making these decisions that much more difficult.
Jon Gruden understands that, as a week from now the Raiders will have to trim their roster down with cuts.
“This will be a big tape for us to get back to the office and study,” Gruden said to the media on Friday. “A lot of situations covered today. We put some backup players with the starters. We put some starters in with the second group to see how they’d react. But to answer your question, this is a time where everything is winding down, so we’re going to have to meet as a staff and make some tough decisions. It’s been a very competitive camp.”
I guess if there is one positive to take away, it’s that the practice squad roster will be increased from 10 players to 16 players, so at least there will be some players that get an opportunity they likely wouldn’t have been able to get.
“I think it will be important,” Gruden said in regards to the extra spaces on the practice squad. “Obviously, as a contingency plan, if God forbid, we do get another case of that COVID in our building. But it helps practices. You have to service each other. You have to emulate the opponent, and to have a number of players that can help us do that will certainly help in our preparation and, like I said, it will also give us a contingency plan if we’re stricken with a bad case of the virus.”