By Sam McPherson
With just two games left in the 2014 season, there’s not much motivation for the Oakland Raiders as they face the Buffalo Bills this Sunday at the Coliseum in their final home game of the year. Mostly, guys just want to avoid getting hurt at the tail end of a two-win season.
That being said, six players didn’t practice this week as the Silver & Black prepare to face the 8-6 Bills this week. Buffalo still has an outside shot at an AFC playoff spot, but the Raiders don’t have a lot to play for (except maybe a roster spot in 2015, of course).
Cornerback Tarell Brown (foot), wide receiver Vincent Brown (groin), cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), tight end Brian Leonhardt (concussion), wide receiver Denarius Moore (knee/ankle) and offensive tackle Menelik Watson (foot/ankle) all missed workouts on Wednesday and Thursday—which doesn’t bode well for their chances to play on Sunday. And what would be gained by sending any injured guys out on the field? Very little.
With the multiple players out at corner and wideout, this will put pressure on the Raiders to suit up replacements and effective ones, hopefully. The Bills aren’t super dynamic in their own passing game, but their defense is very good—and Oakland doesn’t want to send its rookie quarterback into battle with a diminished receiving corps.
Speaking of that rookie QB, the Raiders hope to have Derek Carr available on Sunday, but if he doesn’t play, you can’t blame the Silver & Black brass for holding him out. Carr has endured a pretty tough season, and he’s done it well. There’s little need to risk his future by forcing him to play against Buffalo’s defense if his right thumb isn’t 100%. Carr was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, but he was good to go full speed in Thursday’s workouts.
This could be a game-time decision for the team.
In addition to the aforementioned defensive backs who did not practice this week, the Oakland secondary has other problems: corners T.J. Carrie (ankle) and D.J. Hayden (back) both were limited on Thursday in practice, so if you have a fantasy team, maybe it’s a good idea to grab Bills QB Kyle Orton. He clearly will be throwing the ball against a very weak Raiders pass defense.
Finally, Oakland defensive end C.J. Wilson—no, not the MLB pitcher who hates the Coliseum—has a knee issue that kept him from all workouts on Wednesday and limited him in practice on Thursday.
With a road trip to Denver on the docket in Week 17, the Raiders really do just want to stay healthy as they play out the string here in 2014. But sometimes, trying to do that becomes very difficult to achieve—especially if the weather is cold and wet.
- Quarterback Derek Carr (thumb)
- Cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle)
- Cornerback D.J. Hayden (back)
- Defensive end C.J. Wilson (knee)
- Cornerback Tarell Brown (foot)
- Wide receiver Vincent Brown (groin)
- Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring)
- Tight end Brian Leonhardt (concussion)
- Wide receiver Denarius Moore (knee/ankle)
- Offensive tackle Menelik Watson (foot/ankle)
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.