Some jobs still up for grabs

With one preseason game left, head coach Tom Cable has a pretty good feel for what the Raiders roster will look like in 2009. But there are some questions yet to be answered. Find out what they are in S&BI's latest update.

-- Center John Wade returned to practice but was held out of all hitting and team drills. Wade has fallen behind Samson Satele in the battle for the starting job, but Cable noted Satele has had problems making the line calls.

"That's really the issue because in this system the center has to run the show," Cable said. "There are some things (Satele) needs to improve on. There are things that I like and there are some things I don't feel like he's getting it quick enough. There's definitely competition there."

Chris Morris is also in the mix, according to Cable.

-- Rookie safety Mike Mitchell, who hasn't practiced since injuring a hamstring two days before the preseason-opener against Dallas, continues to make progress in his recovery but isn't likely to play against Seattle.

"I wanted to play this Thursday, but they said the opener is more important, which it is," Mitchell said. "So that's now my focus. I'm for sure going to play in the opener. It's been almost three weeks now, and I'm almost at 100 percent. I really wanted to try to get some game experience before that game, but it's what I got to do. And I'll be ready for it when it comes."

Speaking of safeties, Cable hasn't exactly been overwhelmed with the way the Raiders have performed at the position while Mitchell has been out.

"I think thus far (it's been) very average," Cable said. "They'd be the first to tell you that. It's an area that has to improve."

-- With cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha doubtful to play against Seattle, Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson will likely both be in the starting lineup. Both had been competing for the starting job opposite Asomugha, but Johnson has gained the edge in recent weeks while Routt has struggled.

-- Cable said it's unlikely the Raiders will carry four quarterbacks on their regular-season roster, meaning either Bruce Gradkowski or Charlie Frye will be playing in their last game in an Oakland uniform this week.

"I think it will be pretty heated Thursday night," Cable said of the two QBs. "It's been that way all along. The plan was to try to give them both a series or a little more in that fourth quarter Saturday but obviously with the way the rotation went we couldn't get there."

-- Quarterback JaMarcus Russell liked how the team responded following the lopsided loss to New Orleans and said there was a noticeable difference in practice Monday.

"Guys were out there flying around, making plays today, going hard," Russell said. "Guys went out there today and really showed that, ‘Hey, let's go. We've got to focus on our mind where we need to be.' We had guys out there busting their tail, on offense and defense, guys flying to the ball, guys finishing downfield, making catches. I think we're in the right direction."

-- Wide receivers Shawn Bayes and Will Franklin, defensive tackle Joe Cohen, guard Marcus Johnson and center Jon Compas were all released. The Raiders had until Tuesday to get down to the 75-player limit. Final cutdowns to the 53-man roster are Saturday.


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