Josh Jacobs’ status for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers was already in doubt for the Oakland Raiders and now he’s officially been ruled out. The rookie running back still has a chance to play in the season finale against the Denver Broncos, but that is probably unlikely. Earlier in the week, it was revealed that Trent Brown was headed to the injured reserve thanks to a pectoral injury.
Now, the offensive line will be out another key contributor as Richie Incognito will not play on Sunday, Jon Gruden announced on Friday. With him not playing, that means every Raider starting offensive lineman has missed a game due to injury except for Kolton Miller. Oakland has been getting battered all season and Sunday might represent the game where they’ve been the most short-handed. Denzelle Good will replace Incognito. Good isn’t a bad replacement and played well while Incognito was serving his suspension the first two games of the season.
It’s not just the offense that is ailing. Linebacker Marquel Lee has also been ruled out for the Chargers game. The former starting linebacker landed on the injured reserve after Week 3 and just recently came back. He has been dealing with a toe injury and his season could very well be in jeopardy.
In some good news for the offense, rookie wide receiver Hunter Renfrow is set to return from his rib injury.
Who’s Done for the Year?
The Raiders have yet to shutdown Incognito, Jacobs or Lee for the rest of the season. Theoretically speaking, the team could still be in the playoff race if they beat the Chargers. Gruden could be holding out hope that Week 17 will be a meaningful game. If Oakland continues their losing streak on Sunday, they should shut all three men down.
With Incognito and Jacobs, the plan is to have them both be important pieces for 2020. There’s no reason to risk their long term health for a meaningless win against the Denver Broncos. With Lee, it’s hard to know what the Raiders will do with him. He hasn’t been a game-changer at linebacker, so it’s possible there’s no intention in bringing him back for 2020. However, there’s also no reason to risk his future health if the team doesn’t need him.
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Raiders Offensive Line Could Be in Trouble
The depleted and beat up Raider offensive line is going to have a very tough task against the Chargers defensive line. Even with Trent Brown and Richie Incognito, they couldn’t seem to figure out how to stop Melvin Ingram. Now that Brown is not there to shut down Joey Bosa, things could get out of hand fast. Derek Carr was just sacked a season-high four times against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a game in which Brown didn’t play.
Brandon Parker figures to continue to fill-in for Brown and he’s struggled greatly. With Josh Jacobs out, it’s possible the Raiders will rely on the passing game more heavily than they usually would. Carr usually needs time to throw to be effective. Gruden is going to need to be really creative on Sunday if his team is going to pull off a win against an underachieving Chargers team.