By Sam McPherson
The 3-12 Oakland Raiders take on the 11-4 Denver Broncos Sunday in the final game of the 2014 regular season, and if the Silver & Black want to win their first road game since November 2013, they’ll need to get a lot of contributions from their mildly injured players since six players once again were unable to workout this week and should miss the finale.READ MORE: Napa Valley Looks to Restaurant Week to Help Jump-Start Economic Comeback
Wide receiver Vincent Brown didn’t play last week against the Buffalo Bills, and after missing practice on both Wednesday and Thursday with a groin injury, it’s very unlikely he will see the field against the Broncos on Sunday. Also on offense, tackle Menelik Watson is still out with the foot and ankle problems that have plagued him the past few weeks. He, too, missed workouts on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Some great news for the Oakland offense is that rookie quarterback Derek Carr was a full participant in practice this week after experiencing some undisclosed illness earlier in the week. It would be a very good step towards 2015 if he is able to engineer some good scoring drives—or even a victory—on Sunday in Denver.
But wide receiver Denarius Moore missed last week’s game against the Bills at the Coliseum with his ongoing knee and ankle issues, and after missing all workouts this week, he is done for the season and will not play against the Broncos, either. Of course, Carr still has James Jones, Andre Holmes and Kenbrell Thompkins healthy on the flank, so the Raiders passing game shouldn’t suffer too much, if at all, in Week 17.
Tight end Brian Leonhardt still is out with concussion problems.
Bigger issues still exist on the defensive side of the ball: Three players in the secondary were banged up and unable to practice much this week. Going against Peyton Manning, that’s not a good sign—even if Manning has been struggling mightily the last month himself.
Cornerbacks T.J. Carrie (ankle) and Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring) both missed workouts this week, and although Carrie might still play, Chekwa probably will not. Toss in a new hamstring injury to newly signed (from the practice squad) safety Ras-l Dowling—he was limited in practice on both Wednesday and Thursday—and it could be a long day for the Raiders secondary.READ MORE: Wind-Whipped Wildfire in Big Sur Shuts Hwy 1, Forces Evacuations
Finally, linebacker Khalil Mack was a limited participant in workouts this week with his own hammy problem, but he should be ready to go on Sunday. There always exists the chance the team will play it safe with a young, developing player in Week 17 when he is nicked up, but until the Raiders announce such a thing, consider Mack a go for the last game of the year.
It’s been a long year for the Raiders, with way too many injuries forcing the team to play guys way down the depth chart—and sometimes guys who weren’t even on the roster in August and September. That will have to change if the team wants to be more competitive week-in and week-out in 2015.
- Quarterback Derek Carr (illness)
- Cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle)
- Safety Ras-l Downing (hamstring)
- Linebacker Khalil Mack (hamstring)
- Wide receiver Vincent Brown (groin)
- Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring)
- Wide receiver Denarius Moore (knee/ankle)
- Offensive tackle Menelik Watson (foot/ankle)
- Tight end Brian Leonhardt (concussion).
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.MORE NEWS: Curry Hits Winning Jumper, Warriors Beat Rockets 105-103
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A’s. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.