The injuries are piling up faster than bad press in Miami for the Oakland Raiders. Since this is training camp and teams aren’t required to disclosure every nick, cut, bruise, bump and season ending surgery most of what we learn is all part of a gamesmanship.
No matter the severity of the injuries to Darren McFadden, Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens, Jacoby Ford, Mike Mitchell, Chris Johnson, Hiram Eugene and Samson Satele (to name a few) there is one thing we know for certain – the Raiders don’t have the depth to afford lost time.
When Al Davis chose to let Nnamdi Asomugha walk he made it clear the decision was rooted in business interests. That’s just part of the game when it comes to professional sports. Replacing Asomugha was impossible. However doing something to soften the blow and provide temporary relief as the young DBs learned on the job was certainly doable.
Again, Davis chose to spend his money elsewhere.
Now here the Raiders stand with the sum of all fears being realized after one preseason game. The defensive secondary is being held together by scotch tape and there’s no help in sight. With just over $5-million available in cap space and sparse options on the open market it has become a do-or-die situation for the youth movement.
The biggest problem in Asomugha’s departure was the fact that every one beneath him was elevated by default. Stanford Routt becomes the top cover corner, Chris Johnson moves into Routt’s spot and the scrum beneath has yielded mixed reviews thus far.
As thin as the secondary is the offensive line is even more susceptible.
Robert Gallery was another business decision that saw a highly productive player test the waters elsewhere. Replacing Gallery is nothing like the task of filling Nnamdi’s void. Still there is something to be said for being able to rely on a guy like Gallery when he’s healthy. Stefen Wisniewski is getting rave reviews but the proof is to be found in the regular season, not a moment before.
Again the issue relates to what happens when there are injuries along the patchwork line. This is pro football, assuming an offensive line will go through the entire season without injury is as foolish as thinking Tim Tebow is going to make Bronco fans forget about the guy that wore #7.
With help needed on the O-line the Raiders again sat on their wallet making the minor move of signing Stephon Heyer and giving Jared Gaither a once over. Heyer could prove invaluable as he’s already getting time at most every position on the line except center. His versatility will no doubt be put to the test. Let’s not even think about what a debacle the right tackle position is as of now.
Now if we were talking about a team with no playoff aspirations then the current state of the roster wouldn’t be an issue. If this was part of a rebuilding plan then by all means, toss everything against the wall and let’s see what sticks.
Problem is Tom Cable was let go because it wasn’t enough to not be “losers anymore”. Hue Jackson wasn’t promoted to help transition from the old regime to the new one. He was given his title in order to build on what was accomplished last season. Richard Seymour and Kamerion Wimbley weren’t given lucrative deals just for the sake of spending money.
Al Davis is expecting wins, baby!
For all we know DeMarcus Van Dyke could blossom before our eyes into the NFL’s next great cover corner. The New Wiz could become the most dominant guard in the East Bay since the 1970’s. That is all good but what happens if either of them falls victim to injury?
Unfortunately the Raiders are banking on the staff to coach up players that might not have what it takes to push this franchise back to the Promised Land. Time will tell but right about now it looks like the biggest issue facing Oakland’s return to AFC West glory is depth.
Topics: Al Davis, Chaz Schilens, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Hiram Eugene, Hue Jackson, Jacoby Ford, Jared Gaither, Kamerion Wimbley, Louis Murphy, Michael Mitchell, Nnamdi Asomugha, Richard Seymour, Robert Gallery, Samson Satele, Stanford Routt, Stefen Wisniewski, Stephon Heyer, Tim Tebow, Tom Cable