Through the first two weeks of the season, the Las Vegas Raiders had a lot going for them. They had two wins and the offense looked elite. Well, it looks like they’re crashing back to earth. A number of key starters have already missed games due to injury and they got beaten badly by the New England Patriots in Week 3.
Rookie first-round pick Damon Arnette has been playing with a cast on his hand due to an offseason thumb injury. He had an awkward fall against the Patriots on Sunday that seemed to make the injury worse. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Raiders’ worst fears could be realized as it’s now looking like Arnette could be sent to the injured reserve.
Arnette has struggled at times as one of the Raiders’ starting cornerbacks but he’s gotten better each week. He played well enough to keep his spot in the starting lineup. Unfortunately, his development is going to come to a screeching halt. Arnette is as tough as they come but it would be unwise to let such a young player ignore a serious injury and cause long-term damage.
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Prince Amukamara Among Best Replacements
The Raiders do have some internal options to take over for Arnette. Nevin Lawson seems to be the logical choice to start opposite Trayvon Mullen. He’s got a lot of starting experience should be very familiar with the Raiders defense. However, the team will now need to add depth.
Bringing back Prince Amukamara would make sense. Though he was cut relatively early, he did spend a chunk of training camp with the team. He’s a solid player and it was surprising when he was cut. The Raiders could certainly do worse than to bring him back. Other than Amukamara, the free agent pool for cornerbacks is pretty baren right now. The team could decide to keep things in-house and try to get Amik Robertson involved in the defensive gameplan. That doesn’t seem like a great recipe for success but they may not have much of a choice.
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AFC West Is Cursed … Expect for the Chiefs
There’s only been three games played this season and the Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos have all been brutalized with injuries. Both the Chargers and Broncos are using backup quarterbacks right now and both lost their best defenders for potentially the whole year.
The Raiders lost starting wide receiver Tyrell Williams for the year, Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs are banged up, Marcus Mariota and Richie Incognito are on the injured reserve and Nick Kwiatkoski has missed two straight games. And let’s not even get started with Trent Brown, who has played a total of three snaps this year. It’s been a brutal stretch of injuries for them.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the one team in the AFC West that isn’t brutalized with injuries right now. Of course, they happen to be the reigning Super Bowl champions. Apparently, they’re the only team that’s going to get any breaks even though they don’t need it. The Raiders have a really good team when healthy but it’s going to be hard for them to make the playoffs if a third of the roster isn’t able to play.