By Sam McPherson
What's worse than facing the defending Super Bowl champions on the road? Facing the defending Super Bowl champions on the road with at least nine players pretty well banged up and unsure if they will play or not.
That's what faces the 0-7 Oakland Raiders right now as they go to Seattle this weekend to play the Seahawks on Sunday: Nine players are listed as questionable for the Silver & Black, and that won't make earning their first victory of the season even a remote possibility against the defending champs.
The Seahawks are 4-3 and in third place in their own division, so they may be in a particularly nasty mood for this Week Nine contest. The Raiders are the last winless team in the NFL this season, and there's a good chance the team will lose its 14th consecutive game dating back to last season.
Five offensive players are questionable for the game: tight end David Ausberry (foot), wide receivers Vincent Brown (hamstring) and Kenbrell Thompkins (other), and fullbacks Marcel Reece (quad) and Jamize Olawale (shoulder). There are four defensive guys also banged up: cornerbacks Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), Keith McGill (groin) and Carlos Rogers (knee)—as well as defensive end Justin Tuck (knee).
With three corners dinged up, it'll be interesting to see if Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson throws the ball more than usual, although the Seattle offense also can ram the ball down the Raiders' throat with running back Marshawn Lynch.
None of the three cornerbacks has practiced this week: Depth is going to be a major issue for the Oakland defense on Sunday. Rogers usually starts, and if he can't go, then T.J. Carrie will be forced into the starting lineup. He also serves as the Raiders primary kick returner.
Carrie himself has had some back troubles, but he has been a full participant in practice this week—perhaps out of necessity. Rogers hasn't missed a game this year, but it's better to be safe than sorry—as sorry as the Oakland defense has been. Third-stringer CB Neiko Thorpe may be pressed into action on Sunday, too.
Tuck has been limited in workouts this week, but he's also been a near-zero on the field. He did register his second sack of the season last week against the Cleveland Browns, but the team was expecting a lot more out of him. If his last game was a sign Tuck's getting better, it would be a shame to see him not be able to go at 100% this Sunday.
Offensively, Reece is the biggest potential loss for the Raiders. He helps the running game work as well as providing additional protection for QB Derek Carr. The fullback was limited in practice this week, and he hasn't missed a game yet this season. Olawale also was limited on Thursday, so the Oakland offense could be going into a tough situation with two banged-up FBs—and that's not good against the Seattle defense.
In the passing game, Ausberry and Brown have not practiced this week—neither has Thompkins, who is away from the team right for undisclosed reasons. Usually, Carr spreads the ball around pretty well, so there will be plenty of passing game options still, but the Raiders would still like to have as much depth as possible for this game.
- Tight end David Ausberry (foot)
- Wide receiver Vincent Brown (hamstring)
- Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring)
- Cornerback Keith McGill (groin)
- Fullback Jamize Olawale (shoulder)
- Fullback Marcel Reece (quad)
- Cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee)
- Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (non-football issue)
- Defensive end Justin Tuck (knee)
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland A's. His work can be found on a Examiner.com.
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