In a surprising move, the Raiders are going to cut cornerback Pat Lee — who has started the last seven games — Saturday, a league source said. The move is likely being made to make room for Ron Bartell, who set to be activated today after being out (and on the Temporary Injured Reserve List) with a broken shoulder blade.
Lee had a missed tackle on Doug Martin’s 67-yard touchdown run last Sunday, but was otherwise thought to be improving after a rough start Week 2 in Miami. The former Packer had 27 solo tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and 8 passes defensed in eight games.
(The Raiders will announce their roster moves after today’s walk-through. I think they will let someone else go to make room for practice squad running back Jeremy Stewart, as with Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson out, they are going to need another running back behind Taiwan Jones and Marcel Reece. Stewart made the flight to Baltimore.)
As of right now, the Raiders kept backup cornerbacks Phillip Adams, Coye Francies and Brandian Ross over Lee. Adams is the punt returner and Francies and Ross play more special teams than Lee … but still it is surprising that Lee was let go over on of them. (Michael Huff will start again at the other cornerback spot as Shawntae Spencer (foot) has not been cleared for practice yet).
Lee, in his fifth year out of Auburn, was drafted by the Packers during Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie’s time there. He talked at training camp about how it was cool to have the GM in your corner, but he needed to win over the Oakland coaches. Just two weeks ago, coach Dennis Allen said Lee was getting better and this is defensive coordinator Jason Tarver just 9 days ago:
“Pat Lee has definitely improved the last three or four weeks and it’s in knowledge of the defense,” Tarver said. “He’s gotten calmer faster in games. He needs to continue to go one play at a time, keep his hips down and keep making plays. He made a great catch on that interception last week and that was by having his eyes alive. As long as he can continue to correct his mistakes…he’s one of the guys that when things happen to him, he goes, ‘I got that; I know, that’s enough.’ ”
Gotta wonder if there is not something more than meets the eye here. Lee did not play well against the Bucs, but no one on defense did.
As of right now, Raiders kept backup cornerbacks Phillip Adams, Coye Francies and Brandian Ross over Lee. Adams is the punt returner.