The Raiders have a bye this week and it came at a perfect time for the team to regroup after a 24-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week.
They need some time to work on the banged up offensive line before they play the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles in back to back home games after the bye. The offensive line surrendered 9 sacks against KC and it wasn’t all on quarterback Terrelle Pryor either. The OL was manhandled by the Chiefs defensive line and pass rush. Tamba Hali had 2.5 sacks and Derrick Johnson accounted for 2 sacks as well.
Oakland used their 3rd center when they shifted guard Mike Briesel to the most important position on the line when backup Andre Gurode left with a knee injury. Tony Pashos left with an injured groin and didn’t return, opening playing time for rarely used Matt McCants at right tackle. Rookie Lamar Mady saw his first significant action as a pro when he played left guard. The OL was clearly not effective and KC had their way getting to Pryor, the bye comes at the right time for the MASH unit line.
Head coach Dennis Allen acknowledged the injuries.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that are banged up, a lot of the veteran guys,” he told the Sacramento Bee. “We need those guys to get their bodies back, get their minds back. We’ll give them a little bit of time, but we’re still bringing them in, still meeting with them and spending a lot of time in the training room.”
Sitting at 2-4, the Raiders could easily be 4-2 if they had found a way to beat the Colts and the Redskins. But, often young teams need time to learn the ropes of the NFL and develop that killer instinct that this team is obviously lacking right now. Most of the experience is on the defense with safety Charles Woodson, cornerbacks Tracey Porter, Mike Jenkins and linebackers Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett.
Strong safety Tyvon Branch fractured his fibula against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Oakland’s 19-9 win on September 15th. Brandian Ross has filled in nicely (22 tackles and 1 sack), but he is no Tyvon Branch. When healthy, Branch is a top 10 strong safety. Getting Branch back will help solidify a defense that has been rather impressive so far this season.
-Starting center Stefen Wisniewski is expected to return for the Steelers as are Pashos and Gurode. Backup running back Rashad Jennings should be good to return for the game as well.
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