Keelan Doss has moved on, and so have the Raiders.
The former U.C. Davis and Alameda High star agreed to join the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars instead of the Raiders.
The Raiders’ leading receiver in exhibition games, Doss’ story was played up in the HBO series “Hard Knocks,” which concludes Tuesday night.
Coach Jon Gruden, who was often effusive in his praise of the rookie — as he was with lots of players — wanted to make it clear the amount of air time Doss received wasn’t necessarily compatible with where he stood on the depth chart.
“That was your story line, that was not my story line, just so we’re on the same page,” Gruden said with a laugh. “We tried to keep him on the practice squad. He felt he had a better opportunity to make the team in Jacksonville. We hate to see him go. We’re happy for his future.”
But Gruden said the Raiders were just as eager to keep receivers such as Marcell Ateman and Rico Gafford, who were both practice squad additions and said of Doss, “He was a big story on the TV show, but that’s not the reality that we saw on tape.”
Doss spoke positively of his experience with the Raiders during a halftime interview at the U.C. Davis-Cal game Saturday. And Doss would be correct in thinking he’s probably got a better shot of making the 53-man roster with the Jaguars.
The Raiders kept six wide receivers: Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Ryan Grant, J.J. Nelson and Dwayne Harris, the latter who plays on all special teams. In four exhibition games, Doss never took a special teams snap.
Jacksonville’s wide receivers on the 53-man roster are Marqise Lee, Chris Conley, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, D.J. Chark Jr. and C.J. Board.
Waiting for the call
For Andre James, a reserve center and guard from UCLA who made the Raiders as an undrafted free agent, the good news came from Lester Cotton Sr. Cotton had just gotten word that he was being waived — he has since returned to the practice squad — and during the course of getting his bad news learned that James had made the 53-man roster.
“Man, I didn’t sleep too much the night before,” James said. “I was pretty nervous. I was just sitting there waiting to get a text to come in, and I never got it. Lester let me know that I’d made it, so I was pretty excited.”
Cornerback Keisean Nixon, on the other hand, slept just fine. Nixon, along with James, punter A.J. Cole and fullback Alec Ingold, all made the Raiders as rookie undrafted free agents.
“I was pretty confident. I wasn’t really nervous like that,” Nixon said. “I just came in ready to play football. I’ve been playing it for ever. I didn’t really think of it as a super big thing. I just felt my play would make the decision and that’s what it did.”
Hudson and the future
General manager Mike Mayock and Gruden were elated to have center Rodney Hudson to anchor the Raiders line for three more seasons as a result of an extension worth more than $30 million. Hudson was too, although, as usual, it was hard to tell.
Where Hudson is concerned, it’s difficult to tell euphoria from depression. And coaches love the even-keeled approach and work ethic he brings to his job every day.
“The most important thing is just getting it behind me and focusing on football and getting better every day,” Hudson said. “I think it’s always good to be wanted. You want to be appreciated.”
Good looks like starter at right guard
It appears Denzelle Good has recovered so well from off-season back surgery he is the favorite to open the season as the starting right guard.
“Denzelle, I think, is going to start for us,” Gruden said. “He has a chance to be our starting right guard. He’s doing great.”
Left guard is currently a competition between veterans Jonathan Cooper and Jordan Devey, Gruden said. Devey had originally been penciled in to start on the right side after Gabe Jackson was lost Aug. 7 to an MCL strain.
Jackson, Crosby making progress
Original estimates of Jackson’s injury, sustained in a scrimmage against the Los Angeles Rams, were he’d miss the first four or five games. Gruden was hinting it could be sooner than that. Hence, there was no thought given to putting Jackson on injured reserve because it would put him out for a minimum of eight games.
“I saw Gabe walking around. So I followed him around to see how the knee was doing,” Gruden said. “Really happy to see the progress that he’s made. We didn’t put him on I.R. for that reason. We think after the first few ballgames he’ll be close to returning.”
If Jackson were to miss three games, his return would be Week 4 on Sept. 29 on the road against the Indianapolis Colts.
Jackson was not specific about a return, but said he’s happy with the way things were going — especially after the initial injury when he thought it might end his season.
Rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby is sporting a scar on his right hand where a plate was inserted to stabilize a broken bone incurred in the exhibition opener on Aug. 10. He hasn’t played since, but Crosby said he’s practicing and can clutch and grab with the injured hand.
Rookie cornerback Isaiah Johnson, a fourth-round draft pick, was placed on injured reserve Sunday, but Gruden believes he could be designated for return and be back near midseason.
“I hope he can. I think he has a chance to be as good a corner as we have here,” Gruden said. “He’s long. He’s a press corner. He’s talented. He got off to a great start.”
Johnson, who was kicked in the head during the first exhibition game, shed some light on his condition via social media, saying he “fractured the right side of his face.”