The final exhibition game has been played. Players have made their closing cases to be on the regular-season roster.
Now, with the roster cut-down deadline set for 1 p.m. PDT Saturday, comes the hard part for head coach Jon Gruden.
“I’ve become attached to these guys. I really like this team,” Gruden said Thursday night after the Raiders dropped a 17-15 decision to the Seahawks in Seattle. “We have some tough decisions to make. I’m really proud of the guys, the way they finished.”
One of the good problems Gruden and his staff have is the influx of young talent on the roster. It starts with three first-round picks in defensive end Clelin Ferrell, safety Johnathan Abram and running back Josh Jacobs and includes several undrafted rookies, such as wide receiver Alameda native Keelan Doss, a summer standout.
Doss on Thursday night had a couple of drops against the Seahawks, but also continued his productivity, with six catches for 63 yards.
But those rookies are likely to push out some veterans.
“We saw the emergence of some young players,” said Gruden. “Our draft picks, several players that weren’t drafted have a chance to make this team. We might have 12, 13, 14 rookies wearing the silver and black this year.”
The Raiders roster might be in flux for several days, with the cuts, plus possible trades or pickups of players from other teams that may be released. While the team needs to get down to 53 active players Saturday, the makeup of those 53 could change late Saturday, Sunday and into Monday or Tuesday.
The Raiders, who went 3-1 in exhibition games, will open the regular season Monday night, Sept. 9, against the Broncos at RingCentral Coliseum.