The Las Vegas Raiders defense has been on fire recently, totaling five takeaways last Sunday versus the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, the unit might be going into this weekend’s matchup a bit shorthanded.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected most NFL teams, one way or another, this season. The Raiders had a slew of issues such as fines and even losing a draft pick. Earlier in the year, the Silver and Black had to prepare for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without having their offensive line on the practice field.
Now, as the team prepares for the Super Bowl champion, Kansas City Chiefs, they’ve been dealt another blow. With their Sunday Night Football clash approaching, the team could be without ten defensive contributors. This development is concerning and disappointing as Raider Nation was getting excited about the team’s defense coming alive. Also, and this should go without saying, the concern for the player’s safety should be paramount. The game’s important but as we’ve seen, the effects of possibly contracting this disease can be serious. As far as the players affected by this situation, they are as follows:
- Johnathan Abram, S
- Maliek Collins, DL
- Johnathan Hankins, DL
- David Irving, DE
- Isaiah Johnson, CB
- Arden Key, DE
- Kendal Vickers, DL
- Clelin Ferrell, DL
- Lamarcus Joyner, DB
- Cory Littleton, LB
So now what for the Raiders?
Another player not listed who’s been affected by the Covid list is tackle, Trent Brown. The Raiders’ offensive line has yet to be complete in quite some time. As far as the defense, saying they could be shorthanded is putting it lightly. However, it’s entirely possible that the defensive players still play on Sunday. In order for this to happen, the players involved have to test negative, so not all is lost.
This is wild: Nearly the entire #Raiders starting defense is going on the COVID-19 list because of high-risk close contacts, but all are eligible to play in the game if they continue to test negatively, sources tell me and @TomPelissero.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 18, 2020
As far as team preparation goes, head coach, Jon Gruden still has Maxx Crosby, Maurice Hurst, Daniel Ross, and Carl Nassib on the defensive line. At linebacker, he’ll have Nick Kwiatkoski and Nicholas Morrow. Rounding out the defensive backfield, Gruden will have Nevin Lawson, Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette, Jeff Heath, and Erik Harris.
Also, let’s not forget that this game for the Raiders will come down to their offense. Lead by quarterback Derek Carr and a powerful running game, as much as losing these players hurt, the team will be relying on their scoring to win.
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*Top Photo: Jeff Robertson/Associated Press