It's that time of year again when head coaches have to make tough decisions about finalizing the regular season roster. The Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is at that point and is confronted with plenty of difficult decisions as his Raiders have their first regular season game coming up at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. The deadline to get down to the required 53-man roster is tomorrow the 5th of September.
The Raider have won only 1 of 4 preseason games but the key and ultimate goal throughout is finding the right mix of athletes to kick off the regular season. Preseason is about testing and assessing guys who vie for a position on the team. That pretty much it although it is a key time for starters to get timing down and their game legs back in order. it's true that preseason record has no direct bearing on the regular season however, for psychological reasons, wins can be somewhat helpful.
Last weeks final preseason game was therefore a final opportunity for some guys to shine and convince the coaching staff they are qualified to be part of the final roster. So Del Rio has a lot on his plate so to speak over this past week. Some notable position decisions worth mentioning are as follows:
The Battle of the Backup Quarterbacks
Backup is not a term to be taken lightly as the first backup is your go to guy should the starter become unable to play. In this case it's the primary position in terms of moving the team forward should Oakland Raider starter-apparent Derek Carr not be able to take the field during the season. throughout the past four games the numbers favor Matt McGloin as he shined in his on field performance. Christian Ponder? Not so much. McGloin has clearly been performing better and most likely solidified his quest to take the second string spot with his play against the Seattle Seahawks. Neither QB had the best o-line to work with but McGloin was able to do more with what he was given as compared to Ponder.
McGloin passing stats amounted to 16-24, 186 yards, 2 TDs and he accomplished them with poise and focus in light of little consistent protection from the offensive line set before him. Ponder a former first round draft selection was on the other hand 7-11, 99 yards, and no TD’s. He too had to work with the same deficit of talent provided on the offensive line. In the end the Oakland Raiders will do well to have a talented and capable go-to backup. If anything it keeps a lot of pressure in the starter Carr which as we all know is a great motivator to keep starters performing optimally.
By Scott Davis