It’s been up and down thus far in 2017 for the Oakland Raiders. The team won their first two games fairly easily, then dropped three straight games in disappointing fashion. There’s a lot to digest this week as the Raiders prepare for a divisional matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. This is the Raiders Wednesday Update, Week 6 edition.
Carr Already Back In Action
When Derek Carr first got hurt two weeks ago versus the Denver Broncos, it was initially reported that he had only suffered back spasms. A day later, head coach Jack Del Rio announced during a press conference that the Raiders star quarterback had actually suffered a transverse process fracture, which would sideline him for at least two weeks. Well, Carr’s status has changed again.
After missing last Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, Carr returned to the practice field in limited fashion today, and all indications point to him being ready for the Chargers this Sunday. He was able to get some limited reps last week as well, but the plan this time around is to have him starting come game time. Hopefully, Carr will be back to his old self.
Raiders Suddenly Swamped With Other Injuries
As for the rest of team, things aren’t looking as good health wise. On the plus side, two players that were out alongside Carr against the Ravens (right guard Gabe Jackson and running back DeAndre Washington) were all able to participate in some capacity, along with Amari Cooper. However, there were numerous other injuries during that game, and that’s caused the injury report to fill up.
David Amerson left early with a shoulder injury, and he was able to get on the field. However, everyone else injured during the Ravens game did not. Reserve corner Antonio Hamilton left with a knee injury, fullback Jamize Olawale received both a concussion and a nasty gash to his face on punt coverage and blocking tight end Lee Smith left late with a knee injury as well.
The biggest losses were starting linebackers Marquel Lee and Cory James, who both had to bow out due to an ankle and knee injury, respectively. If the two are unable to go this week, that would leave the Raiders with Tyrell Adams, Nicholas Morrow and Xavier Woodson-Luster.
First-rounder Gareon Conley was also out again with his nagging shin injury. There’s been some speculation about the injury keeping Conley out long-term. Since three of the six corners on the roster are hurt, the Raiders had to bring in reinforcements, which led to a new addition to the team…
Demetrius McCray Signed
The trio of Sean Smith, T.J. Carrie and Dexter McDonald would get the lion’s share of snaps if their cohorts are unable to play, but a backup plan was needed on account of all the injuries in the secondary. Thus, the Raiders brought in McCray, who worked out for the team with three other free agent defensive backs last Thursday (Deji Olatoye, Brian Dixon and Mykkele Thompson).
The fifth-year corner spent the first three seasons of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars before getting released during final roster cuts in 2016. He was a free agent for the rest of the season, signing with the Seattle Seahawks for this year’s training camp, which ended in another missed cut.
McCray has mostly been on special teams throughout his time in the league, and the Raiders definitely need help in that area if Hamilton is out for a long period of time.
Darius Latham Suspended for Substance Abuse Violation
With no one going on injured reserve, the roster spot for McCray had to open up somehow, though the Raiders themselves didn’t do anything. The NFL has suspended Latham, the primary backup at defensive tackle, four games due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
The nature of the violation is currently unknown, though it’s typically the result of a failed drug test. Under the current policy agreement between the NFL and the player’s union, different drugs trigger different suspension lengths. For example, a player has to test positive for marijuana four times before a suspension is announced, with the preceding failed tests only resulting in the loss of game checks.
Latham was inactive for the first four games of this season, getting on the field last Sunday for a total of 23 snaps in a rotational role on defense and on special teams. His absence leaves the Raiders a bit thin in the interior, so he should be back with the team once his punishment is over. He’s eligible to return after the week 10 bye for the Mexico City game against the New England Patriots.