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Raiders QB situation is shaking out
Aug 12, 2010; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Kyle Boller (7) scrambles during the preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium. Photo by Image of Sport Photo via Newscom

Raiders head coach Tom Cable said in his Thursday meeting with the press that he will likely hold CB Chris Johnson, QB Bruce Gradkowski, and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey out of the game. Cable said he wants Bruce to be at 100 percent before he turns him loose, he said Chris Johnson is having a hamstring issue, and Heyward-Bey is simply fatigued from working too hard. Cable says he doesn’t want to put these guys in a situation where they could potentially suffer a worse injury. Chaz Schilens may not see field time on Saturday either, “I’m just not going to put guys in a position where I’m not going to have them here in a few weeks,” said the coach.

Depth is not really a concern at wide receiver right now, which is a stark contrast to a few years ago when the Raiders had slim pickings at wide receiver. despite rumors that the team may be looking to sign the recent 49ers cast off Brandon Jones or aging veteran Tory Holt. This game should give them a great opportunity to decipher who their fourth, fifth, and sixth guys will be when the season opens in Tennessee. Guys who you will want to keep an eye on are Johnnie Lee Higgins, Yamon Figurs, Nick Miller, and Todd Watkins. DHB, Schilens, Louis Murphy, and Jacoby Ford are all the likely locks to make the team while the other four guys will be fighting for the last two roster spots.

Asked when he would pull the starters, Cable said they will likely play longer than they played last week and the Raiders will pull them out in the mid-to-late part of the second quarter. HB Darren McFadden will miss another game with his hamstring issue, but Cable said that he should be back on light duty by Tuesday’s practice.

With Charlie Frye receiving the news that he will likely miss four to five months with a wrist issue, Cable gave praise to current back-up quarterback Kyle Boller, “We’re certainly happy, but I’m happy for him because I thought he showed well in his time. Like a few other guys, he’s getting a new start and I think he’s making the most of it. Getting into situations this year, without Bruce being able to go and I think he’s making the most of it,” said a nodding Cable.

“Each day, each week, I feel more comfortable getting to know these guys,” said Boller. “The experience I’ve had over the last eight years; I mean I still pull stuff from when I was a rookie. These last few days, I’ve been able to get a lot of reps and that’s what helps you get your timing down with these young receivers. It hasn’t gone well, the first part of my career, so there’s an opportunity here to end my career strong.”

Boller has only started in 21 games in the last four seasons, but he has played in 33 regular season games. Over his career, he has a win-loss record of 20-26 with the St. Louis Rams and Baltimore Ravens, which is better than former starter JaMarcus Russell’s 7-18 record during his time in Oakland. With the injury to Frye and the good things he has shown the staff this off-season, Boller will likely make the roster as at least the third-string quarterback and the Raiders will be keeping Colt Brennan on call waiting during the season in case of an injury to the top three guys.

Brennan was excited about his opportunity to take some preseason snaps last week for the Raiders, but Boller stole the show and ended up winning the game for the Raiders. I’d expect Brennan to get some time under center this week though, after actually having some practice time under his belt. However, the leadership and moxey shown by Bruce Gradkowski last year, as well as the progression of Boller and the fact that he has been with the team since April make these two guys more likely to make the roster in a back-up role to starter Jason Campbell.

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