By JL Herrera
Safety Tyvon Branch is the most likely piece that could hurt the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos at the Mile High Stadium. Branch suffered a fractured fibula last Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the injury has taken him out of the game indefinitely.
There are other factors that the Oakland Raiders need to worry about when encountering the powerful Denver Broncos. However, having a full arsenal would have truly helped the Silver and Black, so Branch’s injury was definitely a bit of a setback and could prove costly for Oakland.
Now, the Raiders have to attack the issue on how to stop the Broncos any which way they can without one of their best safeties. Branch could have been a huge help for the Raiders’ secondary to stop the aerial threat that Peyton Manning will bring with the Broncos on Monday night.
After Thursday’s practice, Coach Dennis Allen addressed the team’s injuries except Tyvon’s injuries and how long he will be gone. It has been a given that Branch will be out on Monday’s match against the Broncos, as mentioned earlier in the week. So, Allen concentrated on the players that did not make practice this week.
Tight end David Ausberry did not practice due to a shoulder injury. Coach Allen did not mention if Ausberry was going to participate for Monday’s game. So far, Ausberry’s position has been covered rather well by Nick Kasa and Jeron Mastrud. So no worries in that department, really!
Linebacker Kevin Burnett was limited on Thursday’s practice due to illness. It is expected that he will play on Monday’s game. There was actually no mention of Burnett’s anticipation for the Broncos game because it was just a given that he will be at the game suited up.
Offensive lineman Lucas Nix did not practice as well due to an ankle problem. No word was given by the Raiders’ coach if Nix was going to play at the Mile High Stadium against the Broncos. His position is important since the Broncos defensive line can be aggressive and has been able to stop the run. Nix’s presence could be useful to help the Raiders’ running scheme work against Denver.
Coach Allen also mentioned on Friday, after practice, the Lucas Nix might play left tackle if he is 100% healthy. No other players were mentioned on who can take the left tackle role against the Broncos.
Offensive tackle Menelik Watson will be a confirmed player that will be out against Denver due to a knee injury that will require surgery. The Raiders played without Watson for the first two weeks of the NFL season and did just fine, despite a loss to the Colts. On the other hand, the left tackle was not an issue in that game.
In the end, the injuries are not a big issue for the preparation against one of the toughest team in the NFL, the Broncos. Recent news is that the Broncos also lost their left tackle, Ryan Clady, this week during practice. Clady is already reported to be out for the season. That means that Peyton Manning will have a new guy covering his blind side. It should be interesting to see the Oakland Raiders take advantage of the Broncos left tackle issue!
Final Injury Report for the Raiders
Linebacker Kevin Burnett (illness)
Offensive lineman Lucas Nix (ankle)
Tight end David Ausberry (shoulder)
Tackle Menelik Watson (knee)
Tyvon Branch (ankle-fibula)
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
J.L. Herrera is a huge fan of football and has been following the Raiders since the 1980s during the LA era. J.L. is also a freelance writer and copywriter on the web. He taught English for a little more than a decade in Los Angeles at the secondary level. While writing for web based news outlets, J.L. enjoys reading, creative writing, and watching sports. His work can be found on Examiner.com.