By Kevin Saito @Kevin_Saito on August 30, 2014
Every team goes through it every season – the dreaded final roster cuts. For the players who get pink slipped after going through minicamps, OTA's, training camp, and four preseason games, it's something that has to sting. But it happens every year – players thought to have a legitimate shot at a roster spot find themselves packing their bags before the season starts. Here are the Raiders' five most surprising roster cuts in 2014.
While perhaps not a huge surprise, Carlos Fields had put together a quietly decent performance during camp this season. While he was never dominant, he'd been solid and had earned good words from the coaching staff. It was thought that he could provide the linebacking corps with some much needed depth, but he obviously didn't do enough to justify a spot on the 2014 roster.
After being cut by the Cleveland Browns, Greg Little had put together a fairly solid training camp, regularly being singled out by the Raiders' coaching staff for his work. He had an up and down preseason, but the receiving corps as a whole had problems with consistency. While Juron Criner was also cut, it's surprising that the Raiders kept Andre Holmes – who completely disappeared during the preseason – over Little, who has some upside.
Scott Simonson and Jake Murphy were both long shots to make the Raiders' final 53-man roster, but then David Ausberry was injury and required surgery. Then Nick Kasa suffered a season-ending injury and the Raiders were left painfully thin at tight end. With the cut of both Murphy and Simonson, the Raiders are left with just Mychal Rivera and Brian Leonhardt on the roster. The team will obviously be scouring the waiver wire for warm bodies.
Brandian Ross started 13 games for the Raiders, filling in for the injured Tyvon Branch just a season ago. While not spectacular, he didn't fare too badly in racking up 75 tackles (56 solo) and three passes defensed. With Branch back and healthy, Ross and 7th round pick Jonathan Dowling were left to compete for the backup spot. While neither shined, or really stood out at all, during the preseason, Dowling managed to edge Ross for the spot.
While never primed for a starting role with the Raiders, Jeremy Stewart had been a reliable backup to stalwart Marcel Reece, appearing in 13 games in 2013. But with the emergence of Jamize Olawale, the Raiders felt comfortable enough to jettison Stewart and keep the more versatile Olawale. Unfortunately for Stewart, the Raiders have a large stable of backs and it came down to a numbers game – and he was on the wrong side of the numbers.
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