The Oakland Raiders may have suffered their first big injury of the season. As Gareon Conley was taking down a Denver Broncos wide receiver, he got hit in the head by Johnathan Abram’s knee, his teammate, and had to be taken off off the field in a stretcher. Both teams surrounded Conley in silence. Conley did give a thumbs up on the way out and seems to still have motion.
This is an absolutely devastating blow if Conley is out for any significant amount of time. He’s the team’s top cornerback and is coming off a really strong year. It also hurts because the Raiders were playing really well on defense. The Raiders have stated that it’s a neck injury and it’s definitely a situation to monitor. The worst part about this injury was that it was completely avoidable. Conley was already about to make the tackle, but Abram decided to hit the receiver late and even drew a penalty for the play. The Raiders are high on Abram, but he needs to play smarter.
The injury came in the midst of a very close game. The Raiders would really like this win after a bad week. Conley getting hurt is really bad for the team, but what’s more important is that his neck is okay. Neck injuries are some of the worst injuries football players can get. It’s very good to see that he gave the thumbs up on the way out, so he shouldn’t have suffered any significant spinal damage.
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Who Is Gareon Conley’s Backup?
Daryl Worley was the starter opposite Conley, so he’ll likely be the top guy if Conley misses significant time. Rookie Trayvon Mullen is the will probably be the guy to fill in for Conley. The former Clemson Tiger was picked up in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft and didn’t allow a single touchdown reception during his college career. He showed up well in training camp and should play well in Conley’s absence.
LaMarcus Joyner is supposed to be the team’s nickel corner, but that could change with this news. He’s got a lot of experience and is one of the most talented defensive backs the team has. Paul Guenther could want to keep him in the nickel. What will most likely happen is that the team will line him up everywhere.
There won’t be too many strong options in free agency who could replace Conley. Nick Nelson is still on the practice squad and he’ll probably get called up. Nelson played a lot for the Raiders in 2018 but had a bad preseason this year. This led to him barely making the practice squad. He should be very familiar with the defense and it the most logical replacement. Conley isn’t going to be easily replaced as he was poised for a breakout season, but the Raiders are going to have to figure something out.