Tuesday was full of good news for the Raiders in terms of players returning. Not only did Darren Waller and Marcus Mariota take the field, but they got three defenders who could all make the team and play key roles this season.
“We got a lot of guys returning,” said head coach Jon Gruden. “Karl Joseph showed up, Isaiah Johnson showed up. [Divine] Deablo got some reps today. So, we got a lot of guys that are on the fringe of coming back.”
Deablo and Johnson have spent all of camp on the PUP list. Both passed their physicals late last week and took the field for the first time today. They may not see the field in the team’s second preseason game in Los Angeles, but Gruden is targeting the final preseason game in San Francisco for them to prove themselves.
“We’re really encouraged with Divine,” Gruden said of his third-round rookie. “He had an injury that we feared was worse than it was. And I give him a lot of credit, while we were all on vacation having a good time, he was here two-a-days, rehabbing, and he’s ready to go. We are going to protect him here for the next four or five days as he gets acclimated to pads, but there is a good chance you may see him against the 49ers.
“And Isaiah, the same thing, we’re going to kind of put the boat in the water these next few days and hopefully get him on the grass against San Francisco in that last preseason game.”
Johnson has an uphill battle on his hands to find a place on the depth chart at cornerback. Even with Nevin Lawson starting the season suspended, it’s a crowded cornerback room.
Joseph has been out the past two weeks. He was brought back this offseason and is expected to provide valuable depth at safety initially, primarily strong safety. And should Johnathan Abram struggle again this season, Joseph could find himself in the starting lineup before long.
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