By Ryan Leong
It’s only the second game of the season, but the Raiders injury list looks like a number of players have made it to the 4077 M*A*S*H unit.
In the classic TV sitcom, it was trying to make light of the seriousness during the Korean War. For the Silver and Black, this is no laughing matter. While it’s not literally life or death, the health of the team is critical to the team’s success. Special teams, along with several other Silver and Black units are banged up. A struggling Miami Dolphins offer an opportunity for Oakland to get their first win, but it will be dependent on the Raiders bench stepping up in key areas. Here’s what the Oakland triage list looks like as of now.
CB Ron Bartell (shoulder), WR Jacoby Ford (foot)
LS Jon Condo (concussion), WR Juron Criner (ankle), RB Taiwan Jones (ribs), LB Rolando McClain (ankle), C Alex Parsons (shoulder)
TE David Ausberry (shoulder), K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), S Michael Mitchell (ribs), WR Denarius Moore (hamstring), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder), DT Richard Seymour (knee)
DE Tony McDaniel (knee), RB Daniel Thomas (concussion)
WR Anthony Armstrong (hamstring)
LB Jonathan Freeny (thumb), DE Randy Starks (groin)
Long Snapper Condo practiced on Friday for the first time since that concussion he suffered in Monday night’s loss to the Chargers, and he has to undergo four post-concussion tests to prove that he’s cleared to play on Sunday. So far, he’s passed two of those tests and told reporters he’s on the trip to Miami. He apparently took a knee to the head by teammate Brandon Myers according to video replays. The Raiders insurance policy earlier in the week was signing rookie Nick Guess to the practice squad. If Condo can’t play, Guess will be signed to the active 53-man roster and will be the backup long snapper.
Center Alex Parsons was limited in practice all week because he has a shoulder injury. Parsons took the snaps in front of quarterback Carson Palmer because Stephen Wisniewski had a calf injury throughout training camp.
Receiver Denarius Moore was held out against the Chargers because Coach Dennis Allen didn’t want to overwork him with 15 games left on the schedule. It was painfully obvious that the Raiders need a receiver because Darren McFadden was involved in nearly every offensive play vs. San Diego. Moore has been nursing a strained hamstring since June. But barring any major setback between now and Sunday, he will be on the playing field and hopefully give the Raiders a much needed weapon on offense.
Another possibility is to get backup running backs Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson more involved as well. Goodson had two carries for 13 yards against the Chargers which was a promising sign. As for Jones, he dropped the ball on the opening kickoff. Then on a reverse, a bad hand off by Marcel Reese off Jones’ facemask resulted in a 25-yard loss, killing any momentum the Raiders had on that drive.
For Miami, Anthony Armstrong is nursing a hamstring injury and was limited in practice. Rookie linebacker Jonathan Freeny has an injured thumb, and nine-year veteran defensive end Randy Starks has a groin injury.
The Dolphins are at a crossroads even though they’ve only played one game. They didn’t score a touchdown and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was intercepted three times in a six minute span of the second quarter and sacked three times.
Backup running back Daniel Thomas is out with a concussion he suffered last week at Houston. The Dolphins will likely use fourth round pick Lamar Miller who played at the University of Miami. Both teams share Sun Life Stadium so this game will be a homecoming for the rookie. Like the Raiders, the Dolphins don’t have much to move the football, relying heavily on Reggie Bush. Receiver Davone Bess had five catches for 45 yards last game and should get at least that many receptions against the Raiders.
With key weapons out on both sides of the ball, this could be a very low scoring game. Whoever capitalizes on their opportunities will emerge as 1-1, while the other will remain winless in 2012.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.