Having too much depth is a hell of problem to have coming out of the preseason.
For the first time in franchise history, the Raiders went undefeated in the preseason – capping it off with a 23-6 victory over the New England Patriots. It's been a great start for Head Coach Josh McDaniels, who hopes his team can keep up this momentum heading into the regular season.
"It's obviously a blessing for me to have this opportunity," McDaniels said after defeating his former team. "The locker room and the way they respond to one another, you saw a lot of energy out there tonight. That's how they've practiced for us, that's how they've played. Our coaching staff has done a tremendous job. Dave [Zigeler]'s done a tremendous job of putting this group of people together. Our goal has been to try to learn how to finish games and win. These opportunities, you only have so many of them."
"Proud of our team that we were able to win four games," he continued. "I know what they are, they're exhibition games, but they still matter in terms of the way you try to compete and play. I'm pleased with our effort and now I'm excited to get on to the regular season."
The coach and his staff now have the daunting task of cutting the roster down to 53 players by Tuesday. It will be difficult for a team that saw great contributions from so many players throughout Training Camp. McDaniels considers it one of the worst parts of the offseason, but is confident they'll make the right decisions for their roster.
"Not looking to cut anybody because like I said before, you'd love to keep all of them," said McDaniels. "The effort and the attitude and the work that they've all put in, I'm so appreciative of that. Our staff has done a tremendous job of developing these guys and we're going to keep as many as we can. That's what we're going to do. Those are tough decisions, tough conversations and our players understand that.
"They didn't lack for effort or execution. They're trying to do everything they can to help us and help themselves at the same time."
A few fringe choices who could potentially make the initial roster are UDFAs Luke Masterson and Sam Webb. Masterson, who played safety and linebacker at Wake Forest, finished his preseason with 19 total tackles, a pass deflection and an interception against Mac Jones on Friday night.
"I was just taking my zone drop and it came to me and I made the play," Masterson said of the interception. "I'm glad I caught it."
Webb made his share of plays as well throughout camp and the preseason. The cornerback from Division II Missouri Western ended the preseason with 16 total tackles, two pass deflections, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. While he came to the Raiders as a small school prospect, he feels he's made the most of his opportunities and didn't let the moments get too big for him.
"It was how I thought it would it be. A lot of early mornings, late nights, grinding early," Webb said about his Training Camp experience. "Camp was rough because of the weather, but I adapted, of course. You have to in this league. But I feel like it wasn't anything that was unexpected."
Time now ticks for the Silver and Black as they evaluate the best fits for the roster. Nevertheless the players that have made it to this point can always claim going undefeated in the preseason for the first time in franchise history.
And the players that make the 53-man roster Tuesday can start to set their eyes on bigger goals – with the regular season opener against Los Angeles Chargers just 16 days away.
View photos from the Raiders' Week 3 preseason matchup against the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium