It’s back. Did you miss it?
That’s right, it’s the Raiders Wednesday Update, Mexico City Edition. The Oakland Raiders will be heading down to our neighbors to the South to take on the dreaded New England Patriots this Sunday. There’s plenty to ponder considering the Silver and Black are coming off of a bye week, so let’s not waste any more time.
Conley to Injured Reserve, Latham Reinstated After Suspension
Some first-round picks bomb during their rookie campaigns. Others perform well right out of the gates. But the worst situation to be in is getting injured. Unfortunately for Gareon Conley, his season is already over.
The rookie cornerback played just two games this year before being sidelined with a shin injury that caused him to miss most of training camp and the first week of the season. He’s been out since week 4. Now, the Raiders have decided to shut him down for the remainder of 2017, putting him on injured reserve Monday.
It could be a fatal blow to the secondary, which has been marred by poor play and injuries to other players. The Raiders had to cut Demetrius McCray before the game against the Miami Dolphins to make room for second-round safety Obi Melifonwu, who had just been activated from injured reserve, so they were already thin at the cornerback position.
They won’t have the luxury of being able to bring Conley back like they did with Melifonwu either. A player has to be on IR for eight weeks before they can return to the active roster. There are only seven weeks left in the regular season, and the earliest he could be designated to return is during the second round of the playoffs.
Defensive tackle Darius Latham will fill Conley’s spot on the roster. The second-year product from Indiana had been suspended for four games due to a violation of the NFL‘s substance abuse policy.
Other Injuries: Bye Week Heals Most Wounds
The Raiders have been riddled with injuries in recent weeks. Now, they have a small number of dinged up guys left to monitor.
Cornerback David Amerson was the only player to miss practice with an injury today. He’s been absent the past two games with a foot injury. Left tackle Donald Penn was in attendance but did not participate; the team stated that it was “not injury related.”
Cromartie Offers His Services
With the already mentioned struggles concerning the secondary, is it a good idea to bring in reinforcements? Well, one former Pro-Bowl corner has volunteered himself.
Free agent Antonio Cromartie, known for his time with the Los Angeles Chargers and New York Jets, made it known on Twitter that he’d like to sign with the Raiders before the regular season is over. He went on to praise numerous other Raiders corners, including Charles Woodson and Nnamdi Asomugha.
While Cromartie is a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro, at 33, his best days are long behind him. He visibly struggled during his time on the field in 2015 and 2016, partly due to injury. While a veteran presence in the locker room would be nice, the Raiders have that covered already on defense.
However, if injuries continue to mount, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring Cromartie into the fold. Or maybe one of his 14 kids is ready to play.
Pro Bowl Voting Open: Do Any Raiders Have A Shot?
The ballots for the 2018 Pro Bowl went online earlier this week. Fans have until around mid-December to cast their votes for who they think is worthy of playing in Orlando the week before Super Bowl LII.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the limited amount of spots leaves the team with decreased chances of getting their players selected. Here are the five who have the best shot:
–Rodney Hudson, C
Hudson has the highest likelihood of earning a nod on the team. He’s ranked 5th overall in Pro Football Focus’ center ratings, 2nd in the AFC, behind David Andrews of the Patriots. He has the highest pass blocking grade of all centers in the league. There are a few notable players behind him, including Matt Paradis of the Denver Broncos, Ryan Jensen of the Baltimore Ravens and Ben Jones of the Tennessee Titans.
–Khalil Mack, DE
The Pro Bowl has strict rules regarding what position defensive players are assigned to, so Mack is up against a number of talented guys in the AFC, among them Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa of the Chargers, Calais Campbell of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Jerry Hughes of the Buffalo Bills. A strong finish to the season could help his chances.
–Marquette King, P
King is second in the NFL in net average and average length for punting. The player he’s behind in both? Brett Kern of the Titans. It’ll be a dogfight to get the nod in the AFC between the two down the stretch.
–Jared Cook, TE
Cook has come on strong as of late, but his shot at getting through in the AFC is hampered by the fact that Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs, arguably the top two tight ends in football, are in front of him. Delanie Walker of the Titans is also having a great season.
–Donald Penn, T
Penn is clearly having a down year, but competition among the tackles in the AFC is thin this year. Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns was the clear leader, but he went down with an injury a few weeks ago. As a result, Penn is now fourth in the AFC for PFF tackle rankings, behind Anthony Castonzo of the Indianapolis Colts, Marcus Gilbert of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ja’Wuan James of the Dolphins. Castonzo is the only one of the three who plays left tackle. If Penn can rebound, he might be able to sneak his way in.