Injuries are unfortunately part of the game, a sentiment that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels echoed while speaking with J.T. The Brick via the team’s YouTube channel. At the same time, the Raiders are doing their best to adapt as certain players have succumbed to their ailments. The main reason behind that is first-year general manager Dave Ziegler.
GM Dave Ziegler has stayed on top of things with all the recent losses
“Unfortunately, injuries are part of our game, but Dave [Ziegler] was actually on it during the game. Yeah, I mean, once things like that happen and you start to get the communication about something being a little longer than something else, there’s really no time to waste because there are 31 other teams that potentially have to try to acquire access to somebody else, whether it be for the practice squad or the roster. So he was working on that as soon as the game was over.”
The Raiders have had to contend with several key losses over the past couple of weeks. Losing cornerback Anthony Averett was a major blow. Originally projected to be a starter, it left the team short-handed. However, Nate Hobbs has stepped up and has emerged, in many people’s opinion, as the Raiders’ top corner. To round off the group, Ziegler brought in Javelin Guidry and Nickell Robey-Coleman. Obviously, the quality of players that will be available at this juncture will likely not be household names. Nevertheless, they all serve a purpose, as McDaniels alludes to.
“We’re just trying to figure out how to put together the right group that can go out there and practice first, because we’ve got to be able to sustain ourselves and be able to practice throughout the way we need to practice to prepare properly. And then ultimately, we’ll try to make the best decisions about what the right group is to take to the game each week, but we’re definitely going to be challenged a little bit this week.”
Raiders Blog: Sometimes you can only do so much with regard to injuries
The other aspect of the job that Ziegler has done is the team’s depth. In years past, the team suffered setbacks by being unable to fill their roster adequately. Something that hindered the on-field performance, both during the games and in preparation, practices, etc. As McDaniels mentioned, you have to be able to sustain yourselves, meaning if you can’t prepare with what you have, your progress will be affected. Unfortunately, as solid as Ziegler’s execution has been, sometimes injuries are just too much.
Taking Andre James, for example. Losing your starting center to a concussion is never good. Though he’s not ruled out as of the time of this publication, replacing James at this point in the season is not realistic. Rookie Dylan Parham would likely take his place. Not an optimal situation, but that comes with the challenge of being a head coach. That’s something that McDaniels hasn’t shied away from; it’s next man up.
*Top Photo: Las Vegas Sun