Las Vegas Raiders: Clelin Ferrell’s absence a blow against Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs
NFL insider Ian Rapoport announced today that Las Vegas Raiders defensive Clelin Ferrell tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result would miss Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Earlier in the week, Ferrell was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list along with DB Lamarcus Joyner, but it was unknown if he tested positive or if it was just a contact tracing measure.
This comes as a massive blow to the Raiders defense as they we’re coming off a huge game in Week 10 against the Denver Broncos and needed to keep the momentum rolling against the explosive Chiefs offense. In their Week Five matchup, Ferrell was a key component of the Raiders victory though his impact did not show up in the basic stat sheet.
The young defensive end did not register a sack or QB hit against the Chiefs and only had three tackles combined and a pass defended. However, he registered an incredible 9 quarterback pressures on Patrick Mahomes and contributed to a defensive performance that harassed the former MVP all game long. It was a career high for Ferrell and tripled his previous high of pressures of just three in a game.
It was Ferrell’s pressure on Mahomes late in the game that forced an errant throw and lead to the Jeff Heath interception which swung the game in favor of Las Vegas and gave them a lead they would not relinquish. Ferrell’s improvement as this season has gone along has been a catalyst for the rest of the defense and their overall improvement as well.
Ferrell’s positive test now leads us to two big questions. The more immediate concern is Sunday’s game and who will step up to fill his role, but the more important question is what impact will this have on his long term health. If you recall, Pro Bowl RT Trent Brown tested positive earlier this year for COVID-19 and has been sidelined indefinitely with complications due to the virus. It’s far too early to have that conversation about Ferrell but it is definitely something the Raiders must monitor.
As for Sunday’s game, it appears that the load will fall on the shoulders of Arden Key and recent arrival David Irving. Key was instrumental in the Week Five game as a spy on Mahomes and Irving played well against Denver, but this will be a much bigger role and bigger test than anticipated for either player.
Regardless of the result on Sunday, we hope that Farrell continues to only experience mild symptoms and is able to return to full health and wrecking opposing offenses sooner rather than later. The long-term effects of COVID-19 are still largely unknown and we know that this is not something to be taken lightly.
To make matters worse, nearly the entire Raiders defense was placed on the COVID list, though they will all likely be back for Sunday against Kansas City. It will be another tough week of practice as they prepare for a primetime game, and the hope is the outcome won’t be what it was when the entire offensive line missed practice before Tampa Bay.