Denarius Moore has been an observer at Raiders practice this week after injuring his shoulder in the win over the Houston Texans.
His participation, or lack thereof, in practice Friday will be more telling, but it is conceivable that the Raiders will be without their number one receiver when they take on the Tennessee Titans this week.
The loss would be relatively significant: Moore leads all Oakland receivers with 37 catches for 569 yards and 5 touchdowns this year.
If Moore can’t go, the Raiders will likely turn to Andre Holmes to pick up the slack.
Holmes spent the first four weeks of the season serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drug use, but his performance in training camp and enticing measurables warranted a roster spot in the coaching staff’s eyes.
Holmes is a big-bodied receiver at 6’4” and roughly 220lbs, but has struggled early in his career to learn how to use that frame to his advantage.
Last week in Houston, Holmes was impressive in limited action despite only posting one reception. That one catch went for 33 yards, and it was made in air-tight coverage.
He also had a near-miss on another big play but was (questionably) ruled by officials to have not maintained possession of the football, despite a challenge flag and some colorful words from head coach Dennis Allen.
It will be interesting to see how Holmes handles an expanded role.
It seems as though quarterback Matt McGloin likes– maybe even prefers– to target Holmes on deep routes, but stepping in as the number two receiver will require a bit more versatility.
As long as he displays some good hands, a receiver with his speed, strength, and stature could be perfect for the west coast offense the Raiders have utilized with McGloin under center.
The “Next Man Up” mantra has served the Raiders particularly well this year; at this rate it would hardly be a surprise if, come Monday, we’ve got another breakout performance to talk about.