By Abraham Gutierrez
The Oakland Raiders will kickoff the 2015 NFL season – and their home opener – as betting underdogs against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, the silver [and black] lining here is that Jack Del Rio will actually have a healthier team to work with when he makes his debut Sunday afternoon in the Black Hole.
A total of 13 players comprise these teams’ (combined) 2015 NFL Week 1 injury reports, but only four reside in the home team’s locker room. Following Friday’s practice, Raider Nation and NFL Fantasy now know they will get a chance to see all but one player in action at the O.co Coliseum.
Del Rio’s final report indicates that defensive end Benson Mayowa would miss this week’s Cincinnati game. The Los Angeles native was forced to sit out preparations for the Bengals game after suffering a knee injury in the Raiders preseason finale against his former team.
Mayowa is currently second on the team’s depth chart behind reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Khalil Mack. Needless to say, he’s a valuable asset to Ken Norton’s defensive group. The former Seahawk played in all 16 games (1 start) for Oakland last season, contributing with 13 tackles (8 total; 5 combined), a sack, and a pass defended.
On a brighter note, the remaining three injured players on Oakland’s Week 1 report are all listed as probable for Sunday’s opener. This list includes tight end Clive Walford (knee), wide receiver Andre Holmes (hand) and veteran defensive end Justin Tuck (calf). All three players partook in 100 percent of the snaps, and thus, all indications are they will see playing time against the felines.
Earlier this week, Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave spoke about Walford’s injury-prone start as a member of the Silver and Black. In short, the 47-year-old OC made clear that just because the University of Miami product was limited to one exhibition game – due to a hamstring and a knee injury – that doesn’t mean he won’t have his number called on gameday.
“Ideally, I think that would be the way to go with a guy that’s been hurt for so long, but we don’t have that luxury,” Musgrave said. “He’s got to be ready to go.”
As far as the other two (probable) players are concerned, Holmes is recovering from a hand fracture that sidelined him for three weeks, while Tuck returned from a calf injury this past Wednesday. Holmes, who led the team in receiving yards a year ago, is projected to become the third option for quarterback Derek Carr behind Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.
Tuck, on the other hand, remains a starter at his position ahead of fellow defensive ends Mario Jr. Edwards and Lavar Edwards. Entering his 11th campaign out of Notre Dame, the two-time Pro Bowler finished ninth in the team with 43 tackles (28 total; 15 assist), 5 sacks and a pair of forced fumbles last season.
Here’s a recap of the Oakland Raiders injury report for Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, followed by the Cincinnati Bengals injury list:
Raiders NFL Week 1 Injury Report & Game Status
(TE) Clive Walford (knee)
(WR) Andre Holmes (hand)
(DE) Justin Tuck (calf)
(DE) Benson Mayowa (knee)
Bengals NFL Week 1 Injury Report & Game Status
(S) Reggie Nelson (groin)
(CB) Darqueze Dennard (groin)
(DE) Carlos Dunlap (illness)
(T) Andrew Whitworth (back)
(DE) Michael Johnson (knee)
(LB) Emmanuel Lamur (hamstring)
(CB) Leon Hall (back)
(CB) Josh Shaw (groin)
(DT) Marcus Hardison (knee)
Abe Gutierrez’s passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers) and CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, aExaminer.com. and other online publications.