Photo courtesy of Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Raiders have gotten off to an impressive start during the preseason, posting a record of 2-0. The first-team offense has only seen one series collectively as Jon Gruden doesn’t appear to be a big fan of playing his starters in meaningless preseason games.
Despite the lack of starters not seeing much playing time, the Raiders reserves have handled the intensive workload quite well. The coaching staff has been able to take an up close look at the depth on their current roster with backups and several rookies playing an abundance of snaps.
Here are three players who have stood out over the first two weeks of preseason play.
DeAndre Washington has played a significant amount during the preseason and he’s taken full advantage of every opportunity. It’s apparent that Washington has put the knee injury behind him and is solely focused on the attempt of cracking the final-53 man roster.
The Raiders running back group contains rookie Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Doug Martin, James Butler, and Mack Brown to work alongside Washington. It’s likely that Gruden keeps three, potentially four running backs, so the preseason games have tremendous value in the decision-making if Washington makes the team or not. He’s shown up day in and day out during camp, making a strong case to stick around, providing depth at the running back position.
In preseason play, Washington has carried the ball 14 times for 41-yards and a touchdown. He’s also done some damage in the receiving game, catching three balls for 56-yards. Even with week 1 of the regular season approaching, Washington is still going to get a lot of playing time in the third and fourth preseason games, which will be a huge testament to whether or not he makes the final roster.
By many accounts he’s impressed the coaching staff, but has he done enough?
Anthony Rush is a player that joined the team in training camp late. Rush was released by the Philadelphia Eagles, and was shortly after scooped up by Oakland. The large 350-pound defensive tackle has turned heads quickly, making a legitimate case to remain on the roster after the final cuts have been made.
Rush dominated in his first preseason game, showing he can be a true run-stuffing defensive tackle. Meanwhile, he also applied constant pressure getting into the Los Angeles Rams backfield causing problems for the interior offensive lineman. He was unable to record a sack, but he did put opposing quarterbacks under stress quite often.
The Raiders clearly need immediate help pressuring the quarterback after posting a 13 sack season last year. Rush, who is still developing after spending last year at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, could develop into a solid interior defensive lineman. He’ll need to continue building on a quality preseason, as his spot is in no means secured at this point in time.
The former UC Davis standout has flashed that same ability throughout the early stages of preseason. Doss had caught the attention of Gruden and Mike Mayock from the start of January, once they both took notice at the Senior Bowl.
Since signing with the Raiders, Doss has been just what the coaching staff was hoping for. A big body, aggressive type of playmaker. In two preseason games he’s caught seven passes for 47-yards and a touchdown. With doing so, he’s played inside the slot, as well as, playing on the outside.
Gruden has reiterated that he’s going to give Doss every opportunity to show why he belongs, and if Doss continues to impress, he’ll likely be a keeper on this Oakland roster. Wide receiver is the team’s deepest position, so he’ll still have large obstacles to overcome, but the end result largely weighs on the shoulders of how well Doss performs from here on out.
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