Another day, another transaction.
Earlier in the week, Head Coach Jon Gruden hinted that the team might be interested in bringing in some fresh blood with the amount of injuries throughout the team, specifically the linebackers.
Two days later and the Oakland Raiders promoted linebacker Justin Phillips from the practice squad, and signed former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Dakota Allen to the 53-man roster.
“We made a couple of roster moves,” Coach Gruden said as he started his press conference Wednesday. “We put Justin Phillips, a practice squad linebacker on the active 53. We signed Dakota Allen, a linebacker off of the Rams practice squad, who we like. We saw him play and practice against us, and we signed Quentin Poling to our practice squad to be a linebacker. So, we had three linebackers change their status and unfortunately, we had to make a couple moves.”
Phillips and Allen are both rookies, but that doesn’t mean that aren’t ready or capable of contributing. Wednesday, Vontaze Burfict and Nicholas Morrow were both limited in practice, and while there’s not an officially status on them yet for Sunday, Gruden is hoping they can battle through their injuries and play against the Colts.
“Yeah, we need them,” he said. “I mean, we potentially need them. We’re not sure if they are going to play. Right now, they are out there in a limited fashion. You got to have linebackers and last week we ran out. It was uncomfortable, so we’ve replenished the group and hopefully guys can get healthy and play. Marquel Lee, I’m sorry, also went on IR so that was how we had another spot available.”
If Burfict and Morrow are unable to go, Phillips and Allen will likely be asked to step up.
Allen first caught the attention of the Raiders coaching staff during training camp, when the team held a joint practice with the Rams prior to their preseason matchup.
The former Texas Tech Red Raider is a young, athletic player that’s excited to make the most of his new opportunity.
“Whatever value they need,” Allen told reporters. “Whether it’s on special teams, defense, practice, I’m just here to add value to the team and help us win.”
Originally signed to the Rams practice squad, Allen was grateful for the opportunity, but was candid about his shock to find out he had been signed to the Raiders active roster.
“A little bit, but that’s part of the business,” he said. “[I] didn’t hesitate to hop on the plane and come out here at all.”
While the joint practice during training camp was an opportunity for the Raiders to scout Allen, he was taking notes on the coaches and players also.
“I love how they play, I love how aggressive they are because that’s the same mindset we had in LA,” Allen explained. “I love how they mix things up on offense and defense, and I’m just excited to be a part of this organization.”
If he’s asked to play on Sunday, hopefully he can bring an intensity and aggressiveness that will help him earn a long-term spot on the roster.