Heading into Week 1, the Las Vegas Raiders looked like they were pretty healthy. That changed quickly as key players got banged up left and right. The first man to go down was Pro Bowl right tackle Trent Brown. Based on how he missed a lot of training camp and a few games last season, it wasn’t surprising. That fact that it wasn’t surprising might end up being a problem.
Head coach Jon Gruden doesn’t love it when his players miss time. He was asked about Brown’s injury recently and gave a cryptic answer.
“It’s obviously a concern, but I’m good at it,” Gruden said Monday. “I’m good at being concerned about it. Really good at it.”
Those comments don’t sound like a coach who is particularly pleased. When he’s on the field, Brown is an absolute stud. However, the best ability is availability. If he keeps being unavailable, it’s going to be a problem.
Brown’s Contract Is Worrisome
It’s one thing that Brown is a Pro Bowl level offensive lineman who isn’t playing, it’s another thing that he’s the highest-paid player on the team and isn’t playing. He’s making even more money than Derek Carr this year. Having an elite offensive line is important, especially with the Raiders’ offense.
According to Spotrac, the team could get out of Brown’s contract after this season with $0 in dead cap. They’d probably prefer not to do that because there’s a reason they gave him all that money. That said, if he misses several games this season, the Raiders have to consider moving on from that contract. That money could be used in a lot of different ways. It’s too early to tell if that’s an option but Brown better hope he heals up quickly if he’s hoping to see all that money.
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Denzelle Good Stepped Up
Fortunately for the Raiders, Tom Cable has done an excellent job keeping his offensive line ready. The team lost Brown and his backup early and were forced to move offensive guard Denzelle Good to tackle. While that should’ve been a recipe for disaster, Good played really well. Carr was not sacked or hit once in the game. Gruden gave Good a shoutout after the game.
“I’ve never been in a game where you lose two players at one position in the first 10 snaps,” Gruden said. “It’s a credit to him, big time, for being able to not only go out there and finish the game but finish well. He did some good things in pass protection, he did some good things in the running game. When Derek Carr switched the play late he was able to pick it up and get his assignments. So I’m really proud of him.”
If a backup offensive guard can come in and play tackle well, there doesn’t seem to be a need to pay an oft-injured player huge money. The New Orleans Saints are coming to town have are a much stiffer threat to get to the passer than the Panthers are. Fortunately, Brown’s injury isn’t too serious, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. It will still be something to watch, though.
More good news on the injury front for the #Raiders. OT Trent Brown, who left Sunday’s win early because of his calf, is not believed to have suffered a serious injury, source said. Usually being ruled out is bad news, but not in this case. He has a chance to play this week.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2020