The Raiders made a necessary move today in calling up fullback Manase Tonga from the practice squad to the active roster. In doing so, they sent Ricky Brown to injured reserve. The move was necessary due to the injuries to starting fullback Marcel Reece and his replacement Richard Gordon.
Reece has been out for the last two games after going out with an ankle injury. He was replaced in the lineup by rookie tight end Richard Gordon. Then in last week’s loss to the Patriots, Gordon broke his hand, leaving the team without a fullback on the active roster on Sunday in Houston to face the Texans.
Rock Cartwright has experience at fullback during his time with the Redskins but he was quite a bit heavier then. The Raiders rely on him as a special teams guru and spot duty running back so he keeps his weight down for the speed required in those duties.
The obvious choice was to call up Manase Tonga from the practice squad to take over at fullback. The uncertainty was who would get cut to make room for Tonga. Ricky Brown was the casualty.
Brown suffered a concussion last week and hadn’t played or practiced since then. He was signed back to the team to replace Travis Goethel who went down with a season ending injury. Brown had been in Patriots camp and was released in the final round of cuts. Now his absence leaves the Raiders without a legitimate backup middle linebacker.
The fill-in duties for starter Rolando McClain will likely fall to Darryl Blackstock who played backup middle linebacker in camp when both McClain and Travis Goethel were not practicing due to injuries. Blackstock is the team’s backup weak side linebacker behind Quentin Groves. The only other backup linebacker option is Bruce Davis Jr who rarely sees the field outside of special teams.
Tonga will go from practice squad player on Saturday to starter on Sunday. Quite a promotion.