Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 27, 2012
Allen: 'We're going to keep the best 53'

by Matt Kawahara
mkawahara@sacbee.com

ALAMEDA -- When the Raiders lined up in a four-man defensive front against Detroit on Saturday, Lamarr Houston was in his usual position rushing off the end. When Oakland ran out its nickel package, though, Houston slid inside.

Shifting inside isn't new to Houston -- he did it in college at Texas and said he moved around on the line last year as well. But it's an indication that the Raiders have some versatility on the defensive line. Along with Houston, free agent signee Dave Tollefson is listed as a defensive end, but played inside occasionally while with the New York Giants.

Head coach Dennis Allen was asked today how that flexibility might affect his decision-making on the line when it comes time to determine the 53-man roster on Friday. Knowing that he has at least two players who can toggle between tackle and end, might Allen be more inclined to weigh talent more than position distribution when making the final call?

Yes, Allen said, and not only on the line.

"If we've got a good football player, I'm going to find a way to make sure he's on this football team," Allen said. "That's the way you develop a team is you keep good football players, and that won't stop throughout the season. Everybody's going to be evaluated throughout the season, and we'll make whatever moves we need to make to give ourselves a chance to win."

Take defensive tackle, for instance, since we're already talking about the line. Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly are locks to make the roster and Desmond Bryant is clearly the primary backup, but competition for the fourth spot is tight right now between Jamie Cumbie and Christo Bilukidi.

Cumbie, who was on the Raiders' practice squad last year, had a terrific game against Detroit, batting down three passes and recording a sack. One of his deflections resulted in an interception when it fell into the hands of Bilukidi, the Raiders' sixth-round draft pick this year who intrigues the coaching staff with his (still somewhat raw) potential.

Asked if he might consider going forward with five tackles on the roster, Allen said: "That's a possibility. Listen, I'm not into the numbers game as far as, 'we're going to keep this many at this position and this many at this position.' We're going to keep the best 53 that gives us the best chance to win games on Sundays. Those numbers, they can change, but we're going to keep the guys that we feel give us the best chance to win."

As for who has the most riding on Thursday night's preseason finale at Seattle in terms of making one last push for a roster spot, Allen wasn't biting. "What that exact number is, I don't know," he said. "But there's still a lot of decisions to be made."

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

Raiders stories on sacbee.com

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31