By Kevin Saito @Kevin_Saito on September 1, 2014
Now that the exhibition season has concluded and the final cut downs are behind us, teams are shaping their rosters and game planning for the first week of the season. With a few surprise releases, the Raiders' roster looks to be shaping up to be versatile and deep – something Oakland hasn't seen in quite some time.
With the “final” 53-man roster set, here is a look at how Week 1's depth chart may shape up.
Starter: Matt Schaub
Reserves: Derek Carr, Matt McGloin
Despite Derek Carr's impressive display against the Seattle Seahawks, HC Dennis Allen will stick with the plan he's been saying he'll be sticking with the entire summer, and start Matt Schaub. The veteran QB will be given the chance to sink or swim, but with Carr waiting in the wings and apparently more ready than expected, Schaub's leash will be a short one.
Starter: Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece
Reserves: Maurice Jones-Drew, Latavius Murray, Jamize Olawale
With McFadden and Jones-Drew, it's more of a 1A and 1B situation. McFadden will be the “starter,” but they will be splitting the carries in an effort to keep them both fresh – and healthy. Murray has proven to be good insurance against injury. And FB Marcel Reece figures to be a bigger part of Oakland's offensive attack this season.
Starter: Rod Streater, James Jones
Reserves: Brice Butler, Denarius Moore, Andre Holmes
Streater and Jones figure to get the lion's share of the targets this season. Though after a pretty spectacular preseason, Butler may be up for an increased role in the offense as well. Which leaves Moore and Holmes at the back end of the rotation primarily because Oakland doesn't know what it'll get out of either on any given day.
Starter: Mychal Rivera
Reserves: Brian Leonhardt, David Ausberry
Rivera is starting out of necessity with David Ausberry's surgery and the season-ending injury to Nick Kasa. It was a lucky break for Leonhardt, who was on the roster bubble coming in to camp, though he did perform well. Though Rivera is a good pass catcher, he's not a great blocker. Expect the Raiders to be looking for an upgrade on the waiver wire
Starters: Donald Penn, Gabe Jackson, Stefan Wisniewski, Austin Howard, Khalif Barnes
Reserves: Kevin Boothe, Tony Bergstrom, Matt McCants, Menelik Watson
It's about time. The offensive line finally showed what it was capable of in the preseason finale. Carr and McGloin were given adequate time to throw, running lanes were blown open. The line really controlled the trenches and dictated the game against Seattle's vaunted defense.
Starters: Justin Tuck, Pat Sims, Antonio Smith, LaMarr Woodley
Reserves: Stacy McGee, Justin Ellis, CJ Wilson, Shelby Harris
The defensive line has had a rough preseason. First team offenses were able to move the ball at will and the pass rush was almost non-existent. The play calling was kept rather vanilla and the exotic schemes Tarver is known for weren't run. When the games count, let's hope the play calling – and unit – gets better.
Starters: Khalil Mack, Nick Roach, Sio Moore
Reserves: Miles Burris, Kaluka Maiava, Benson Mayowa
The LB corps was one of the few bright spots for the Raiders last season. And the 2014 edition looks to be even better. But they need to be able to generate some more pressure on the quarterbacks. Look for Oakland's linebacker unit to be amongst the best in the NFL.
Starters: Tarell Brown, Neiko Thorpe, Charles Woodson, Tyvon Branch
Reserves: Carlos Rogers, Chimdi Chekwa, TJ Carrie, Keith McGill, Taiwan Jones, Usama Young, Jonathan Dowling, DJ Hayden
The defensive backfield has been a liability for Oakland this preseason as teams have thrown the ball at will. But with youngsters like Thorpe and Carrie stepping up and making serious plays, they could help turn a liability into a strength for Oakland.
K: Sebastian Janikowski
P: Marquette King
LS: Jon Condo
Oakland's kicking game is one of the best in the league. Though Janikowski missed some preseason action with a quad strain, look for him to be back for Week 1 against the Jets. And King will once again be one of the better punters in the NFL.
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