Sunday’s win over the New York Giants was a crucial piece for the Oakland Raiders potential playoff run. It not only got them back to a .500 record (6-6), but it also allowed them to enter a tie with the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers for first place in the AFC West.
That tie will be broken by this time next week, as the Raiders are currently preparing to travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Chiefs. The winner will grab control of the division for the time being. What a way to start off another Wednesday Update.
Injuries: Long List of Wounded
Hopefully, the Raiders will be able to field a full team Sunday; just look at the length of this injury report! Sure, four players (Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, NaVorro Bowman and Reggie Nelson) were given rest days, but it’s still a long list.
Six players could not participate in practice today due to injury: defensive lineman Denico Autry (hand), wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle), offensive lineman Jon Feliciano (concussion), linebacker Cory James (knee), fullback Jamize Olawale (ankle) and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (hip).
A lot of significant players are in that group. Patterson and Autry have been instrumental in the last two wins, and Feliciano’s potential absence means that the Raiders would be without a backup center on Sunday.
And then there’s Cooper, who missed last Sunday’s game. It’s interesting that he was also listed with a concussion since reports circulated earlier this week that he had not passed the test to be cleared for action yet. The sprained ankle could still prove troublesome ahead of this week’s game.
There is some good news, though. Cornerback David Amerson was able to go in a limited capacity with the foot injury that’s caused him to miss the last five games; he last played in the first Chiefs game.
Crabtree Reinstated, Latham Moved to Practice Squad
Michael Crabtree will be back from his suspension this week, so that means parting ways with someone on the active roster to make room for him. However, the Raiders went against what many expected them to do here.
Defensive tackle Darius Latham was waived on Monday and placed on the practice squad today, necessitating the release of wide receiver Tevaun Smith, who only signed last week. It’s surprising, given that the Raiders had promoted Isaac Whitney from the practice squad after starting last week with just three healthy receivers. The safe assumption was a return to the taxi squad.
At the same time, Latham’s release makes sense too. He hasn’t played much this season, only being active for one game. He also served a four-game suspension for a violation of the substance abuse policy just a month ago. With Cooper’s status uncertain, the Raiders probably decided that holding onto Whitney was the better move. When Antonio Hamilton is activated from injured reserve, however, Whitney may head back to the practice squad.
Chiefs Corner Suspended Ahead of Sunday’s Game
Not every relevant piece of news regarding the Raiders has to come directly from Alameda County. And so we go to Missouri, where the Chiefs have made a huge disciplinary move that will affect the AFC West showdown on Sunday.
You might have seen the video of Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters chucking a referee’s penalty flag into the stands following a holding call against him during the team’s game against the New York Jets last Sunday. It’s pretty funny, but it did draw an unsportsmanlike conduct call. While that ultimately didn’t play a significant factor in how the game ended, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid was apparently perturbed enough to suspend Peters for one week.
It’s fairly uncommon to see a team impose punishment on their own player; usually, they let the league determine that, so this is definitely an interesting move from Reid. Whether you agree with this sentiment or not, it’s certainly going to affect how Sunday’s game transpires. In essence, the odds would be evened if both Cooper and Peters are out.
It’s never a bad idea to compare how the Raiders players are doing in comparison to the rest of the league. With that in mind, let’s check in on which guys are in the top 10 at their respective positions for Pro Football Focus’ rankings.
Marshawn Lynch, RB (84.3, 8th among all RBs)
Lynch’s stretch since the bye week has allowed him to slowly move up the list of running backs. His pass blocking grade is 4th at the position as well.
Jamize Olawale, FB (65.4, 8th among all fullbacks)
65.4 is a lukewarm grade when it comes to PFF, but with the lack of fullback usage in the league, you take what you can get. Olawale’s the top pass blocking fullback on the list, which saves his grade, given that he’s weak in the other categories.
Kelechi Osemele, G (81.7, 10th among all guards)
There’s been some stellar guard play this year, so earning the 10th spot in the rankings isn’t a slight on how Osemele has performed. His passing blocking grade of 85.1 is a lot better than his running blocking grade of 76.3.
Rodney Hudson, C (80.2, 5th among all centers)
Hudson could be argued as the team’s most consistent player this season, and there’s plenty to like about his PFF standing. He’s 2nd in the AFC overall at center, behind David Andrews of the New England Patriots. His pass blocking grade of 93.5 is the best out of any offensive lineman in the league. However, his 71.6 run blocking grade brings his overall status down a bit.
Khalil Mack, EDGE (92.3, 4th among all edge defenders)
The Raiders highest graded player on PFF, and their only player in the top 10 on defense. His 91.1 run defense grade is 2nd at the position behind Von Miller of the Denver Broncos, and his pass rushing grade of 89.8 is 10th as well. It’s no surprise that Mack has performed like an elite player.