The Raiders made their first cuts today and there were no major surprises on the list. Most of the players cut were guys who had been brought in as camp bodies and would have had to play out of their minds to have a chance at making the team. While the Raiders have underperformed in recent years, it has never been about a lack of talent, only a lack of discipline and adequate coaching.
What is more interesting than who is no longer with the team is the list of players who are still with the team. This includes both cornerbacks Demarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa, defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie, and P Marquette King and K Eddy Carmona. The strength of the RaIders lies in its special teams, and both Carmona and King have been outstanding. On any other team they might be in line for jobs, but on the Raiders I suspect they are around solely as insurance in case the health of Sebastian Janikowski or Shane Lechler does not improve as expected. If and when they are cut, they will not be out of work for long.
Neither Van Dyke nor Chekwa have performed as expected this preseason, although both have shown flashes in practice. This may be their last shot at being regular contributors to the team, as Raiders starting cornerbacks Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartel have been outstanding so far. One or both of Van Dyke and Chekwa may not survive the next round of cuts if their on-field play fails to improve.
DT Jamie Cumbie has come up huge in the preseason, and while once seen as a long shot to make the team I fully expect him to make the final roster and would consider him a strong candidate for the defensive line rotation at this point. Every series he is in the game he makes an impact and seems to be a major playmaker at his position. While the Raiders defensive line is very good and has absolutely stuffed the run so far, Cumbie would provide quality depth and allow the veterans to get a breather every now and then.