Raiders plan on shuffling roster |

Raiders plan on shuffling roster

ALAMEDA – One day after cutting 21 players and placing wide receiver Arman Shields on injured reserve to reach the final 53-man roster limit, Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said Sunday that more changes are likely coming.

“I just told those guys,” Kiffin said after practice. “That’s the unfortunate thing about it. That’s why we didn’t have a big team meeting today or anything.”

The Raiders have Monday and Tuesday off. When they resume preparations Wednesday for their Sept. 8 season-opener against the Denver Broncos, their roster should have a few new faces, Kiffin said.

One addition, Kiffin said, will probably be a fullback to back up starter Justin Griffith. At 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, Griffith is small for an NFL fullback. And considering how much the Raiders run, and how much their fullback is asked to block, Kiffin said he needs two players at that physically demanding position.

“I don’t know how this system could operate without another fullback,” Kiffin said. “I would hope by our next practice we would have a second fullback.”

The Raiders cut two fullbacks Saturday, Luke Lawton and Marcel Reece. Reece was signed to the practice squad Sunday.

The Raiders kept 10 offensive linemen, a number that Kiffin said he expects to be trimmed by Wednesday. They also have seven linebackers, a large number for a team that starts just three linebackers in its base defense.

Reece was one of nine players signed to the Raiders practice squad, a group that includes defensive lineman Mauricio Lopez, part of the international player program, who doesn’t count against the squad limit.

They also signed defensive back Darrick Brown, defensive lineman Greyson Gunheim, wide receiver Jonathan Holland, punter Glenn Pakulak, running back Louis Rankin, tight end Darrell Strong and offensive lineman Brandon Torrey.

All of Oakland’s practice squad players except Torrey were on the team’s roster during training camp. Torrey was waived by the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 25.

Pakulak gives the Raiders some insurance for punter Shane Lechler, who has missed most of training camp with a quadriceps injury. “It gives us a security blanket to have him around for the time being,” said Kiffin, who expects Lechler to be able to practice Wednesday.

Kiffin said making the final cuts this year was easier than last season when he had to cut more veterans. Season-ending injuries to wide receivers Drew Carter and Shields, and fullback Oren O’Neal, opened up three roster spots that went to others.

One of the toughest decisions involved defensive tackles Josh Shaw and William Joseph. Joseph survived. Shaw was cut.

“Josh had a really good preseason for us, did some really good things in the pass game,” Kiffin said. “As of right now we went with Williams based on his ability to play the run.”

NOTES: Cornerback DeAngelo Hall missed practiced because of the death of his father, while free safety Michael Huff was absent because of the death of his grandfather, Kiffin said. Wide receiver Javon Walker switched numbers from 17 to 84 – his number with the Denver Broncos – which became available when Shields went on injured reserve. Lechler and five defensive players missed practice because of injuries or illness: cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle), safety Rashad Baker (ankle), defensive end Kalimba Edwards (groin), linebacker Robert Thomas (knee) and defensive tackle Tommy Kelly (flu). Kiffin said Kelly spent time in the hospital because of his illness, but he expects him to be fine by Monday.

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