The Las Vegas Raiders were already heading into their rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs slightly undermanned. Well, it looks like things could be getting a lot worse. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, nearly all of the Raiders’ starting defense is headed to the COVID-19 list.
You read that correctly. It’s not the entire defensive line, it’s the entire starting defense. Now, Rapoport’s tweet is somewhat vague so it could be six players, it could be all 11 starters. Regardless, this is very bad news for the Raiders. Even if every guy is able to play on Sunday, missing out on practice before playing the reigning Super Bowl champions is not a recipe for success.
The situation is very fluid and a lot can still happen. It’s very possible the Raiders won’t end up playing on Sunday Night Football for the second time this season. Rapoport did report that some of the players could be cleared by Saturday while others could be by Sunday. Either way, this is really bad news for the silver and black.
UPDATE: There have been six raiders defenders added to the COVID-19 list. That means that Johnathan Abram, Maliek Collins, Arden Key, Johnathan Hankins, Isaiah Johnson and Kendal Vickers are on the list. That’s not to mention Clelin Ferrell and LaMarcus Joyner.
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Jon Gruden Addresses News
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden happened to be speaking to the media when the news dropped and he was able to give some insight.
“I don’t know about the whole defense, but I’m not going to really get into what list anybody’s on,” Gruden said, via Sam McDowell. “We practiced today. We’ll be ready for the game on Sunday.”
He’s obviously going to keep his cards close to the vest. While the Raiders’ defense hasn’t been great this season, they had one of their best performances in the first matchup against the Chiefs. It doesn’t look like they’ll be able to replicate that success. If Las Vegas hopes to win, they’re going to need an offensive masterpiece.
Will Game Be Postponed?
It would make a lot of sense for the NFL to just postpone this matchup due to how important it is for both teams, that just isn’t likely to happen. The league didn’t do the Raiders a solid when they had issues before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game earlier in the season.
Apparently, most of the players are in line to clear the protocols by Sunday if they don’t test positive. As of right now, that’s a big if. The NFL has time to figure out what to do but as of now, it’s likely the game goes forward. That said, it’s hard to imagine playing on Sunday night is still on the table but it’s entirely possible.
Clelin Ferrell Patient Zero?
Similar to how Trent Brown was the one to keep all the other starting offensive linemen out of practice earlier in the season, it would appear that Clelin Ferrell is the one who caused the defensive starters to stay home.
It was already expected that Ferrell would miss the game due to testing positive for COVID-19. It appears that he could’ve jeopardized the status of several teammates, as well.