It wouldn’t be a true cut down day in the NFL if it didn’t come with a few surprises. The Las Vegas Raiders are no exception as they have parted ways with Damarious Randall.
The Raiders are trimming down their roster to get to 53 players
Beat writers and fans alike try to predict 53-man rosters for the teams they cover or root for respectively. Within those predictions are often whom they believe will be the surprise cut(s) of that year. However, there are always some moves not many saw coming. The Raiders informed Damarious Randall they didn’t need his services any longer on Friday. Many wondered what happened and Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal provided some insight.
One thing to keep in mind about @Raiders Damarious Randall: He officially practiced just one day while he was with the team. Hard to make a new team that way.
— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) September 4, 2020
We know Jon Gruden’s favorite ability is a player’s availability. There is no further word on whether his lack of appearances was due to injury or another reason entirely. Bonsignore later added in another tweet that Randall “hadn’t been running with the starters for good chunks of the practices media was able to watch”.
After learning Randall’s situation, it’s fair to wonder if he was behind the pack? If so, Randall’s inability to get up to speed in time is what was most likely led to his downfall. The question that remains now is who is going to be the starting free safety?
Johnathan Abram will essentially be a rookie in 2020 after missing 15 games last year with a torn rotator cuff. Thus, a veteran presence will be all but necessary in order to help his progression along. With Randall out of the picture, Harris has all but sealed up the starting role. The Raiders did sign Jeff Heath this past offseason, but he will likely be their third safety, a rotational piece, instead of a legit starting candidate.
The team has more than one option at the safety position
Don’t be quick to discredit what Harris brings to the table in the backfield. The fifth-year safety transformed himself into a solid starting option last year and must have shown the brass he deserves to remain there. He played in all 16 games the past two years and started 14 last year. He finished with three interceptions and two touchdowns in 2019. Moreover, he racked up 74 combined tackles, one being for a loss. He helped provide adequate play in the secondary after the Darryl Worley and Curtis Riley experiments failed. Harris is also in his third year with Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and consistency can be crucial in the NFL.
Unless the Raiders have something in the works or another plan, they will likely hand the free safety job to Harris with Heath rotating in and out. While most fans wouldn’t be quick to say they have faith in Harris, they should sleep well knowing Harris will provide solid play at free safety. In what was a very unusual off-season it appears that Randall was simply done in by his inability to pick up the defensive schemes and Harris now has a chance to flourish as a full-time starter.
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