Raiders

After trimming roster to 53, Raiders must upgrade one position immediately

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AP

After trimming roster to 53, Raiders must upgrade one position immediately

The Raiders trimmed their 90-man roster to 53 on Saturday.

They did not finalize it for the regular-season opener.

Upgrades will be sought. It’s also currently imbalanced, with a few moves remaining to reach positional homeostasis.

Primary objective: They need linebackers, stat.

A trio of possible contributors vanished on Saturday morning. Shilique Calhoun and LaTroy Lewis were let go. Jelani Jenkins was placed on season-ending injured reserve, with an injury settlement likely coming. More linebackers are likely on the way, off the edge or inside.

There are four inside linebackers currently on the roster. Three of them don’t have a defensive start to their credit. Again, additions are expected.

They also kept 10 offensive linemen. Temporarily, at least. Denver Kirkland made the roster but will be moved to injured reserve posthaste, giving the team an option to bring him back.

Calhoun’s draft status made him a surprise cut. Last year’s third-round pick didn’t flash in his second training camp and never seemed comfortable at strongside linebacker. A traditional defensive end in college, Calhoun struggled to make an impact in his short time as a Raider. Lewis, an undrafted free agent from Tennessee, outshined Calhoun during the preseason, but he was also let go.

Jenkins, Reggie McKenzie’s only defensive free agent signing, and the only experienced inside linebacker, is done for the year after getting hurt a preseason loss to Dallas.

The Raiders have solid numbers in the secondary, with five safeties and six cornerbacks. They’re still looking for an upgrade, especially in the cornerback corps. If they find something suitable, that group could be in flux.

Keith McGill was given a roster spot while recovering from foot surgery, but could get the Kirkland treatment and get placed on IR with a chance to return.

Here are some observations on the 53 men currently on the Raiders roster:

-- Bravo to Nicholas Morrow, an undrafted linebacker from Division III Greenville College, for making the roster. The speedy hybrid player fits well as a dime linebacker the Raiders plan to regularly use. He came on late in camp, surged onto the first team and played well in a stretch of preseason games. He earned a spot, and certainly hopes to keep it during this period of roster flux.

Morrow is the only undrafted player to make the initial 53-man roster, though that could change in coming days.

-- Johnny Holton staved off challenges from Jaydon Mickens, K.J. Brent and Keon Hatcher to earn the final receiver spot. He proved a quality special teams contributor and an improved route runner with great speed. He’ll continue to develop as an offensive threat while helping right away in kick coverage.

-- The Raiders didn’t want to expose Jylan Ware to waivers and kept him on the roster. He remains a project, but the seventh-round pick has great athleticism and the team likes his potential. He’ll be regularly inactive, especially early in the year.

-- The offensive line is talented and deep. They have stars in the starting lineup and versatile depth in reserve inside and out. Jon Feliciano and Vadal Alexander should be the first few off the bench.

The Raiders 53-man roster, as currently constructed:

OFFENSIVE LINE
Rodney Hudson
Gabe Jackson
Jylan Ware
Kelechi Osemele
David Sharpe
Donald Penn
Marshall Newhouse
Vadal Alexander
Jon Feliciano
Denver Kirkland

QUARTERBACKS
Derek Carr
EJ Manuel
Connor Cook

RUNNING BACKS
Marshawn Lynch
Jalen Richard
DeAndre Washington
Jamize Olawale

RECEIVERS
Amari Cooper
Michael Crabtree
Cordarrelle Patterson
Seth Roberts
Johnny Holton

TIGHT ENDS
Jared Cook
Clive Walford
Lee Smith

DEFENSIVE LINE
Khalil Mack
Darius Latham
Justin Ellis
Treyvon Hester
Eddie Vanderdoes
Jihad Ward
Denico Autry
Mario Edwards Jr.
James Cowser

LINEBACKERS
Nicholas Morrow
Bruce Irvin
Marquel Lee
Cory James
Tyrell Adams

CORNERBACKS
Sean Smith
Gareon Conley
Dexter McDonald
Antonio Hamilton
TJ Carrie
David Amerson

SAFETIES
Obi Melifonwu
Shalom Luani
Reggie Nelson
Karl Joseph
Keith McGill

SPECIALISTS
Marquette King
Jon Condo
Sebastian Janikowski

Marshawn Lynch ejected for pushing an official

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AP

Marshawn Lynch ejected for pushing an official

ALAMEDA – Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch was ejected from Thursday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs for making contact with an official.

He was on the sideline to start a 3rd-down-and-16 play in the second quarter, when a draw was called. Quarterback Derek Carr was stopped quickly, yet Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters delivered a late hit many Raiders didn’t appreciate.

A scuffle ensued, and Lynch ran on to the field to enter the fray. You can’t do that.

It seemed like he was getting between Raiders teammates and Peters, Lynch’s good friend and fellow Oakland native. He made contact with an official during the incident, and seemed to push him before realizing the man was wearing stripes.

He was ejected by rule and forced to leave the field immediately. Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official and will possibly face a suspension.

The Raiders were granted a first down, but ultimately missed a field goal attempt.

Lynch wasn’t active on that drive or the series before, spending that time with his helmet off. The Chiefs were ahead 17-14 when Lynch was ejected. He had two carries for nine yards at the time.

Inactives: Raiders without two inside linebackers, Bowman suiting up

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AP

Inactives: Raiders without two inside linebackers, Bowman suiting up

The Raiders are aiming to snap a four-game losing streak as they take on the first-place Chiefs Thursday night under the lights in Oakland. And they will be thin in the middle of their defense. 

Cory James and Marquel Lee are both inactive, but a well-known new face is ready to go.

Oakland will turn to veteran NaVorro Bowman, along with two undrafted rookies, Woodson Luster and Nicholas Morrow, to man the middle. 

The following players have been ruled out tonight vs. the Chiefs: 

Cornerback Gareon Conley

Quarterback Connor Cook

Linebacker Cory James

Linebacker Marquel Lee

Tackle Marshall Newhouse

Defensive End Jihad Ward

Tackle Jylan Ware