The Raiders of today are almost completely unrecognizable from the Raiders of the early part of this season. When Hue Jackson came in as coach, he preached "next man up" in regards to replacing injured players. That phrase has become an all too familiar motto this season. And this week the injury report is as long as it has ever been.
Fourteen players are listed on the Raiders' injury report this week. Among those players are several players who would be starting if they were healthy.
Darren McFadden is the biggest name that pops up on the injury report each week. It has been nearly two months since he set foot on a football field. His diagnosis was a mid foot sprain with no structural damage. It was initially thought that he would only miss a couple of games. Now it has become nearly half the season.
The Raiders drafted Taiwan Jones in the hopes that when McFadden goes down, Jones can step in and provide a similar change of pace to Michael Bush. But Jones too has been sidelined of late and it appears the team will get both of them back around the same time. So, yeah, that didn't work out too well.
The other two big names are Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore. They quickly became Carson Palmer's go-to receivers a month ago. Then Jacoby Ford went down with a foot sprain, and a week later, Denarius Moore joined him among the walking wounded.
Now one of their replacements, Chaz Schilens, is also hurt. Hue Jackson insists that Schilens' foot injury is not going to keep him out against the Packers this Sunday, and he'd better hope that is actually true. If Schilens is unable to play, the only wide receivers the Raiders would have to work with are Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, and TJ Houshmandzadeh. So much for four wide receiver sets.
A couple weeks ago, the team even introduced tight end David Ausberry as a receiver due to the shortage of available bodies. In a pinch they can also deploy fullback Marcel Reece as a receiver.
Also hobbling lately have been the defensive linemen. The team lost starting defensive end Matt Shaughnessy earlier this season. The past few weeks Richard Seymour has been banged up, and now John Henderson is hurt as well. Henderson did not practice on Wednesday and Seymour was limited. But it is clear that even when Seymour has played, he is not 100%. His relief is Henderson so the team suffers greatly if neither can play. This scenario happened briefly last week when Henderson went down with his knee injury and then Seymour was ejected.
With both players out, Desmond Bryant had to step in at defensive tackle. That would be fine, except Bryant has been the team's only option at defensive end with Shaughnessy out for the season and Jarvis Moss injured as well. Moss practiced on Wednesday for the first time in a few weeks.
Earlier in the season, the injury bug plagued the cornerbacks. Now that the corners are at full strength except for rookie Chimdi Chekwa who was placed on injured reserve a few weeks ago, the rest of the team can't get healthy.
And I haven't even mentioned Jason Campbell who broke his collarbone and was replaced by Carson Palmer. Campbell is scheduled to return to practice this week, but with no rush, his return may not happen until after this week. He has been tossing balls lightly in recent weeks.
The Raiders have had multiple different starters at nearly every position this season, including kicker. There is really only one loss that can be directly attributed to injury. That was, of course, the 28-0 loss to the Chiefs in which Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer combined for six interceptions.
It makes it all the more impressive that they have come out of it at 7-5. If they can somehow get their key players back by next week, they would be in a good position for the all important stretch run.
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One of the biggest concerns for me against the Packers, is going to be our passing attack. DHB and Louis Murphey are basically the only two healthy receivers on roster worth mentioning, and look for Charles Woodson to be on DHB lockdown. It is absolutely imperative that Murphey has a stellar game. He has the ability to be a big producer, and this is the game we really need him to shine...Boss also has to come up big as well, as it could be a long night in Green Bay if we cannot vertically move the ball down field...
I think the game is going to be decided by Satelle. He has had a difficult time blocking strong NT's and Green Bay has a good one in BJ Raji.If Satelle gets pushed around like he did in Miami, the results may be worse as Green bays offense is better and will score on us more than Miami did. If we can get Bush going I think we have an opportunity to hit some big plays with Reese. Hue loves screen passes and if we can call them against Green bays zone blitzes we could have a couple of those 65-80 yard catch and run touchdowns. I just hope Bren surprises us all and puts together a scheme that isn't " play man till they score 21 points then mix zone with some blitzes". I think if we try to play man it will look like the second half of the Buff. game. They will score on every possession. Arron Rodgers will pick us apart and when we do cover well he'll just run the ball for 20 yards. Can't wait to find out who our new D coordinator will be and what scheme we'll run. DEATH TO THE DONKEYS!!!!!!!!!!
@DylanAlexander BJ will be a real problem, he's huge and much stronger than what we have on the inside, let's hope they can catch him out of balance a little bit! Sucks we don't have D-Mac, his speed would really help us open up the run game on the outside, which would help us avoid BJ!
Don't agree with the Zone scheme though - Rodgers is crazy accurate, and he will pick our zones apart imo! We aren't really that effective in our zones, and he is just too good to be hindered or confused by our zone looks! I would prefer to see a lot of Man-Man to go with some Waufle magic on the line to create some pressure! Routt should be on Jennings the entire game, and we should keep our Nickel D in for the majority of the time - Don't wan't Curry trying to catch up with a WR, that would kill us and Rodgers sees those weaknesses - better keep a Nickel back in to cover the pass more effectively!
Really hope the Donkeys trip though, if Chicago can move the ball it could be a tough game for the Donkeys, but Caleb really isn't showing anything right now! Fingeres crossed that he make it this game!
I was so hoping to have ford or moore back this wk, we need that extra speed on the outside. Even McFadden hurts the teams chances this week, if can get Taiwan back this wk, it'll really help bush a whole deal... I think we need to pound the rock early and often, keep Rogers n Co. On the side lines, D has to come up big this wk, no excuses!!! Bring the pressure and stick to man D!!! For all it's worth, LET'S KICK SOME A$$!!! I HATE CHEESE!! GO RAIDERS!!
God I hope some these guys start coming back soon. If we drop to the Packers, then we really need to take thel last three games to have a shot at the division and the playoffs.
I really want to see a playoff birth this year. Even if we go out early. I just want to see something that says we are moving in a positive direction.