By Shawn Lealos
The biggest injury concerns this year for the Oakland Raiders surrounded their quarterback, Derek Carr, and their defense, specifically their backfield. While Carr returned after missing just one game, the defense seems to be falling apart due to injuries.
With the Raiders preparing for their toughest game of the season against a Kansas City Chiefs team that just suffered their first loss, Oakland has six players listed on their injury report – and four of them are on the defensive side of the ball. Here is a look at the Oakland Raiders injury report heading into their Thursday Night Football game with the Chiefs.
Linebacker Depth Falling Apart
The Raiders have three linebackers on their Week 7 NFL injury report. Cory James is the starting weakside linebacker and is listed as questionable with a knee injury that he suffered two weeks ago against the Baltimore Ravens. James did not practice on Monday, but was limited on Tuesday and Wednesday. The linebacker returned to practice just days after suffering his injury and played in the loss to the San Diego Chargers, but didn’t record any tackles in the game.
Marquel Lee is the starting middle linebacker and is also listed as questionable on the injury report heading into Thursday Night Football. Lee suffered his injury, an ankle injury, in the loss to the Ravens as well, and it kept him out of action against the Chargers. The good news is that, after missing practice on Monday, he was also back on a limited basis on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. With James limited against the Chargers and Lee out, that left only strongside linebacker Bruce Irvin as the sole starter for the team in the Week 6 loss.
The Raiders will hope that both injured starters return and that Irvin can stay healthy, because one of their two key linebacker backups, Nicholas Morrow, is also listed on the injury report this week. Morrow, who stepped up in the Chargers game with five tackles, was limited in practice all week with an ankle injury.
The mass injuries to the linebackers corps have made things even tougher for the defensive backfield, who have struggled all season. David Amerson and T.J. Carrie have stepped in as the starting corners for the Raiders thanks partially to injuries. Sean Smith opened the season with a neck injury, and while he is back, rookie Gereon Conley was inactive against the Ravens with a shin injury. Head coach Jack Del Rio said that his availability depends on his “pain tolerance.” The Raiders have already listed him as out in Week 7.
The best news from last week was the return of Derek Carr. While he did turn the ball over one too many times, Carr needs to stay on the field—and stay healthy—if the Raiders want any chance of turning things around this season. One big part of keeping Carr healthy is having a strong offensive line. This week, Oakland will be without their starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse, who is suffering through a foot injury. With Newhouse out, second-year player Vadal Alexander is next in line to protect Carr against the tough Chiefs defense.
Oakland Raiders Injury Report
- Cory James (LB) – Knee – Limited Practice
- Marquel Lee (LB) – Ankle – Limited Practice
- Nicholas Morrow (LB) – Ankle – Limited Practice
- Jamize Olawale (RB/FB) – Concussion – Limited Practice
- Gareon Conley (CB) – Shin – Did Not Practice
- Marshall Newhouse (OL) – Foot – Did Not Practice