The Oakland Raiders secondary is hurting and according to head coach Jon Gruden, they’ll be missing another one of their starters in LaMarcus Joyner. The veteran got hurt in the game against the Los Angeles Chargers and could miss more than just one game. That means on Sunday versus the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland will only have one of their Week 1 starters playing on the defensive backfield.
Joyner was one of the team’s bigger offseason additions, but he’s failed to play at a high level this season. As the Raiders’ slot corner, he hasn’t done much to help the defense. That being said, his leadership will be missed, especially since the secondary gets younger with Isaiah Johnson bound to see a bigger role. Fortunately, Oakland will be facing a weak Bengals pass offense that will be without A.J. Green. Gruden said that either Nevin Lawson or Daryl Worley will fill in at nickel corner while Joyner is out.
David Sharpe Out, Trent Brown Questionable
Gruden didn’t just rule out Joyner, he also ruled out offensive tackle David Sharpe. That wouldn’t be a big deal as he’s simply a backup, but Trent Brown is listed as questionable. Brown has already missed time and Sharpe filled in nicely before. Brown will most likely play as he’s proven to be incredibly tough, but if he’s forced to leave the game like he did against the Detroit Lions, it could spell disaster for Oakland.
Brandon Parker would be the only tackle available left to play and he’s proven to be one of the worst pass protectors in the NFL. In 15 games played in 2018, he allowed 8.5 sacks. He’s only allowed one sack this season, but he hasn’t played much. Parker is still young and has plenty of time to develop. However, if the Raiders feel like there’s any chance that Brown’s injury could become an issue, they should consider looking to free agency to add depth at the position.
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Looks Like Dion Jordan & D.J. Swearinger Are Playing
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther alluded to the fact that two of the newest additions the Raiders have made, Dion Jordan and D.J. Swearinger, could play on Sunday and Gruden seemed to confirm that when asked. He said that he expects both men to play. It would probably be preferable for both men to get a couple of weeks in the defense before they play a real game, but the Raiders need help.
Jordan and Swearinger are veterans, so the growing pains shouldn’t be too bad. It also helps that the team is playing a really bad Bengals offense. If this was the situation heading into the Kansas City Chiefs game, then it would be a massive cause for concern. While the Raiders can’t afford to overlook any opponent this far into the season, the Bengals game should give them a chance to fine-tune some things before they play some of the tougher teams on their schedule.