After taking it easy for a couple of days since the win versus the Los Angeles Rams, the Oakland Raiders have returned to the practice field. Unfortunately, the team is without a few key contributors because of injuries. Maxx Crosby, Antonio Brown, Gabe Jackson and Isaiah Johnson are all dealing with injuries that could keep them out indefinitely.
However, it’s not all bad news as fullback Keith Smith passed his physical and is returning to practice, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken.
Rookie Alec Ingold has played well with Smith out, but he’s also been taking 100% of the fullback reps. It’ll probably be a relief for him that Smith is back. That being said, the fullback battle can finally properly begin. No matter how much either guy impresses, it’s far from a done deal that Jon Gruden will keep two fullbacks on the roster. It’s quite unlikely he’ll do that. Smith is the obvious favorite because of his experience, but it would be shortsighted to believe that Ingold has no shot. This will be a very interesting battle to watch throughout the rest of the preseason.
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Maxx Crosby Will Miss Thursday’s Game
Maxx Crosby is one of the most exciting rookies the Raiders have, so it was very disappointing when it was revealed by The Athletic’s Vic Tafur that he fractured his wrist. It’s not believed to be too serious an injury and Crosby took to Twitter to tell everybody that he’s okay.
That being said, there are reports coming out that he’s going to miss Thursday’s game versus the Arizona Cardinals, per Michael Gehlken. It’s an obvious move to keep him out of that game, but it’s unfortunate because rookies really need the reps. He should be back by week one, according to Jerry McDonald of the Oakland Tribune.
If he can return sooner, that would prove that he’s a tough kid. Though this injury will set him back, Crosby still has a chance to be a big contributor for the Raiders in 2019. The team is in desperate need of a consistent pass rush and Crosby could help.
Antonio Brown Is Back, but Unseen
Antonio Brown watch has begun and he’s keeping everybody on edge. Multiple reports have indicated that he’s back in Napa and he’s at the Raiders’ facilities, but he’s not practicing with the team. As of writing this, he has yet to be seen.
The faster Brown returns to the field, the faster the media circus he has caused will come to an end. Based on his social media activity, he’s not completely happy with the NFL’s decision to not allow him to wear his preferred helmet, but it’s good that the reported retirement claims seem to have been a bluff. Once he gets back to showing off the skillset that has made him one of the best receivers in the NFL, it’ll be much easier to forgive the drama he causes.