By Sam McPherson
The Oakland Raiders had six players officially unable to workout on Thursday, as they head to San Diego this weekend to try and break a year-long losing streak.
Dating back to last season, the Silver & Black are 0-15, and it’s been just about a year since the team last won an NFL regular-season game. If 0-9 Oakland is to beat the 5-4 Chargers on Sunday, the Raiders will need a lot of help from their bench players.
The defensive backfield was hit the hardest this week, with three players missing workouts: cornerbacks T.J. Carrie and Carlos Rogers, as well as safety Jonathan Dowling. When facing San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers and his big cast of receiving characters, it’s never a good idea be down men in the secondary.
Rogers (knee) was unable to go last week, missing his first game of the season. Since he hasn’t practiced this week at all, it’s hard to envision the veteran CB suiting up for the game in Southern California this weekend.
Meanwhile, Carrie was limited in practice on Wednesday and then sat out Thursday with his ankle injury. He’s listed as questionable for Sunday, so today may be the big day to decide whether or not the young corner will be able to face Rivers and the Chargers offense.
Dowling was a seventh-round draft pick this year out of Western Kentucky, and he’s made small contributions this year so far. But with his back problems keeping him out of practice all week, it’s his presence on the depth chart that will be missed—especially with tight end Antonio Gates roaming the middle of the field against the Oakland defense.
Rivers threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns in the Week Six victory over the Raiders at the Coliseum. He hasn’t been as strong since that game, but every ailing QB loves to see the Oakland defense in front of him on Sunday.
Defensive end Justin Tuck—who intercepted Peyton Manning last week—also has been unable to practice this week due to his neck injury. He hasn’t been the pass-rush presence the Raiders hoped he would be this year, but the team would still rather see him on the field than not. Hopefully, the veteran will be able to play on Sunday.
On offense, offensive guard Gabe Jackson has a knee injury, too, and he also has missed practices this week. Tight end David Ausberry still is out with his foot injury, as he hasn’t played since the Week Seven contest against Arizona on October 19.
One piece of good news is that banged-up corner Chimdi Chekwa was a full participant in workouts Thursday, after his hamstring limited him in Wednesday’s practice. But this is Oakland, and for every piece of good news, there’s a piece (or two) of the bad as well: corner D.J. Hayden (groin) missed Wednesday practice and was limited on Thursday.
Plus, in addition to Jackson’s issues above, the offensive line also has a banged-up Khalif Barnes (quad) and Menelik Watson (concussion). Both were limited on Thursday, and that always leaves Sunday status up in the air.
- Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring)
- Offensive tackle Khalif Barnes (quad)
- Cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle)
- Cornerback D.J. Hayden (groin)
- Defensive end Justin Tuck (neck)
- Offensive tackle Menelik Watson (concussion)
- Tight end David Ausberry (foot)
- Safety Jonathan Dowling (back)
- Offensive guard Gabe Jackson (knee)
- Cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee)
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.