By Sam McPherson
Four Oakland Raiders definitely are out for Thursday night's home game at the Coliseum against the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs, including three members of the secondary.
Luckily, the Chiefs like to run the ball a lot, but we all remember seeing K.C. running back Jamaal Charles running wild through the Silver & Black defense the last time he came to play in Oakland.
Cornerbacks Carlos Rogers (knee) and T.J. Carrie (ankle) will not face Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense on Thursday Night Football, and safety Jonathan Dowling also is out with his back injury.
(Raiders tight end David Ausberry is the fourth player ruled out for the game Thursday night. His injured foot still hasn't healed enough to allow him to practice.)
These injuries leave the Raiders secondary very thin, although—again—the K.C. offense is geared more towards the run with its stable of running backs. But tight end Travis Kelce is a favorite target of Smith's now, and the Oakland linebacking corps will have to make up for the depleted defensive backfield to slow down that facet of the Chiefs' attack.
The good news there is that linebacker Miles Burris should be ready to go after being a full participant in Wednesday's morning workouts for Oakland. His hip injury won't keep him from chasing Charles all over the field on Thursday at the Coliseum.
Also cleared and expected to start is quarterback Derek Carr. The rookie was experiencing some quad issues, but like Burris, he fully participated in Wednesday practice and should play as normal. Carr is coming off his worst game of the season, so hopefully he will be able to wipe that effort off the books with some better play against the Chiefs.
The Raiders are averaging just 213.4 yards per game in the air, which is 26th in the league. Of course, the running game isn't much better: Oakland is on pace for the worst rushing offense since the league moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978, averaging just 63 yards per contest on the ground—obviously dead last in the NFL.
To that end, offensive guard Gabe Jackson is questionable for Thursday night with his knee problem. The Raiders offense—passing or running—won't find it any easier without Jackson on the field.
Even with just seven players on the official injury report this week, obviously Oakland has some holes to fill if they want to break a 16-game losing streak that dates back to last season. The Raiders are staring into history's evil grin right now, and any team's chances of a win are better at home than they are on the road.
If the team was 100% healthy, it still would be a tall order to bust the Chiefs' five-game winning streak on Thursday night, and sadly, Oakland has to play them again in a few weeks on the road.
Hopefully by then, the Raiders will be a little bit healthier on the defensive side of the ball.
- Linebacker Miles Burris (hip)
- Quarterback Derek Carr (quad)
- Offensive guard Gabe Jackson (knee)
- Tight end David Ausberry (foot)
- Cornerback T.J. Carrie (ankle)
- Safety Jonathan Dowling (back)
- Cornerback Carlos Rogers (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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