Early this season, the Raiders were not able to field their entire group of wide receivers. Now they are banged up once again and could be down three of their top receiving targets come Sunday.
The latest to go down to injury are Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore. They were both injured in last Sunday’s win in Minnesota. DHB was hit in the head by linebacker EJ Henderson’s knee and suffered a concussion. Denarius Moore injured his foot at some point during the game and was in a walking boot on Wednesday, unable to practice. Both appear as if they will miss this week’s game at home against the Bears.
These latest injuries come on the heels of Jacoby Ford spraining his foot in last week’s win in San Diego. Ford has not practiced at all since the injury and looks to miss a second straight game. Ford missed all of training camp with a broken hand and missed weeks two and three with a previous foot injury.
This leaves the team with Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, and TJ Houshmandzadeh as the team’s only receivers. Ironically, Schilens has been the most healthy receiver for the Raiders this season, after missing most the first three years of his career due to injury. Murphy missed the first five games of this season with injury and will now be asked to step up and cover for injured teammates. Houshmandzadeh was just picked up as a free agent a couple weeks ago. No sooner does he learn the playbook but he may be asked to start.
The team could also be without running backs Darren McFadden and Taiwan Jones. Michael Bush will of course get the start again and he will be backed up by special teams guru Rock Cartwright.
The wild card, as usual, is Marcel Reece who can and has split out wide as receiver at times. He adds an element of flexibility in both the running and passing game.
The Raiders will need that flexibility with just three healthy wideouts.