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Silver Minings: NFL announces 16-man practice squad and COVID roster flexibility

Raiders and rest of the league will have similar personnel rules as last season

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the NFL announced it will retain the injured reserve rules from 2020, and yesterday, a report from Pro Football Talk revealed the league is also bringing back the expanded practice squad rosters. That means the Las Vegas Raiders, and every other team will be able to carry 16 players on the practice squad, bringing the total player count to 69.

Though it’s not explicitly stated, I would assume this also means that four veteran players will also be on the practice squad, a rule adopted a year ago in case of any potential COVID-19 issues. That’s good news for players like recently-signed Ethan Westbrooks and Bo Scarbrough and others who would not be eligible if it weren’t for the expanded rosters as they now have a better chance to stick around a little longer.

PFT also reported that two practice squad players can be promoted each week, bringing the pool of players eligible for the 46-man game-day roster up to 53 instead of 55. Those call-ups can come up to 90 minutes before kickoff, so these transactions can happen at essentially a moment's notice.

League-wide, the expanded rosters should help reduce the number of potential game reschedules or cancellations. However, the NFL has yet to release a minimum number of eligible players a team must have to play the game, so we could see some controversial decision-making in that regard, again.

In Other Raiders’ Links:

  • Raiders hold 25 players out of preseason: Warren Sharp tweeted how many players each team held out of Week One, with the Las Vegas ranking in the top half of the league.
  • Nate Hobbs opening-day starter?: Jon Gruden praised the rookie after the team’s first preseason game and said he might have earned a starting spot.
  • Isaiah Johnson off PUP: The cornerback passed his physical on Saturday and will begin practicing with the team on Monday.
  • Trey Ragas receives praise from Gruden: “No one’s come further in a shorter period of time than him,” said the coach of the undrafted rookie running back, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic.