The Oakland Raiders have just made two additions to the 53-men roster one day before their battle against the Ravens in Baltimore, activating cornerback Ron Bartell from the designated-to-return injured reserve and promoting runningback Jeremy Stewart from the practice squad. To make room for Bartell and Stewart, a couple of cornerbacks have been removed from the active roster: Shawntae Spencer was sent to the IR and Pat Lee was waived.
The 30-year-old Ron Bartell signed a one-year deal on March 16th to take one of the starting cornerback spots in the 2012 Raiders defense. He opened the year as the number 1 CB but a broken shoulder blade suffered right on the season opener against the Chargers sidelined the veteran until now.
The idea was to pair Bartell with Shawntae Spencer, who also signed a one-year contract earlier in the year, as the two starting corners, but the latter also suffered a serious injury: a sprained ankle against the Dolphins on week 2. Spencer remained on the active roster but his recovery didn’t went as well as expected. The former San Francisco 49er hit the practice field to test his foot earlier this week but wasn’t able to do much. His designation to the Injured Reserve puts an end to his lone year as a Raider.
The high ankle sprains suffered by RBs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson against the Buccaneers last Sunday left Oakland short-handed in the offensive backfield. Even though both MRIs made on the players came out negative, DMC and Goodson are already declared as “out” for the contest against the Ravens tomorrow. With only second-year speedster Taiwan Jones and the versatile Marcel Reece as options to run the ball, the Raiders decided to promote rookie Jeremy Stewart from the practice squad. The 5’11, 215 undrafted free agent out of Stanford spent training camp and pre-season as a member of the Silver&Black, but wasn’t able to make the final roster cut.In order to accomodate Stewart, the Raiders have waived cornerback Pat Lee, which could come as a surprising decision to many. Lee, signed earlier in the year after spending four seasons as a member of the Packers, started 7 games for the Silver&Black and had some highlights of his own. Despite having a very poor debut against the Dolphins, the former 2nd round pick out of Auburn was able to record 34 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble and 8 passes defensed.
It remains to be seen how will the cornerback situation unfold for the Raiders with the three roster moves aforementioned in the unit. For the near future, Michael Huff is expected to remain a starter playing as a CB, pairing up with Bartell, with Joselio Hanson locked in the slot and Matt Giordano taking care of the free safety position. The Raiders also have Phillip Adams, Coye Francies and Brandian Ross to complete the cornerback depth.
The Oakland Raiders are already in Baltimore to face the Ravens tomorrow, at 10:00 A.M. (PDT).