For a quick second, it looked like the Las Vegas Raiders were finally getting healthy. With the team in the bye week, a number of injured players are hoping to return. One of those players likely won’t be defensive end Carl Nassib.
According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Nassib broke his big toe in Week 5 versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 14, 2020
The injury caused him to leave the game early but it remains to be seen how long he’ll be out. A broken toe for a pass rusher will probably be difficult to play on. It’s very possible he’ll land on the injured reserve, which would keep him out for at least three weeks. Nassib was one of the Raiders’ biggest expenses this offseason but hasn’t done too much. The defensive line had their best game of the season in Week 5 and he didn’t play much. He has yet to play up to his contract quite yet but perhaps a few weeks off will allow him more time to learn the defense.
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Raiders Get Bye Week Just in Time
The Raiders are very fortunate to have their bye week take place right after such a big win. They are very high on themselves and have a tough matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming up. It’s easy to see the team having a hangover after beating their archrivals and laying an egg against a good team.
Fortunately, that shouldn’t be the case. The Raiders have an extra week to get their minds right and it will give them a chance to get healthy. They’ve been among the most injury-plagued teams all season but it looks like they’re starting to heal up. They could have several key players return for Week 7.
Raiders Could Rely on Some Unknown Defenders
While it looks like the Raiders might be getting some players back, it doesn’t sound like Nassib will be on the field soon. This means the team will likely rely on some less-known guys. Head coach Jon Gruden recently praised some of his unknown defenders for their performances against the Chiefs.
“Kendal Vickers, nobody knows he’s alive, but me and the Raiders,” Gruden said. “This guy did a great job yesterday. Chris Smith played the under-tackle position. Here’s a guy that’s a seven- or eight-year veteran, that’s a defensive end and he’s lining up in there at defensive tackle. I’m really proud of (defensive end) Datone Jones and all the players that have contributed through the first five weeks. I hope it makes us a better team in the next 10 weeks.”
Nobody saw Vickers, Smith or Jones making any kind of impact in Week 5 but they all played a role in the team’s constant pressure on Patrick Mahomes. Jones and Smith were sent back to the practice squad but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Raiders promoted them another time this season.