Only one game has been played but the injury issues are piling up for the Las Vegas Raiders. They’ve already lost starting right guard Denzelle Good for the year with a torn ACL and are now losing a key defensive lineman. Things weren’t looking good when defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of Monday’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Raiders’ worst fears were realized as McCoy will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The six-time Pro Bowler was just signed by the team last month towards the end of training camp. The only real reps he saw prior to Monday were in the Raiders’ last preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.
“Today was my first real reps. I took a few of my first practice reps this week and have been getting reps here and there but today it was like, ‘Throw him in the fire,'” McCoy said after the 34-10 loss to the 49ers, via Raiders.com. “It felt great. My legs felt great, no pain in the knee. Knocking the rust off felt really good. I was just back in my element.”
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Devastating News for McCoy
This is a huge blow to McCoy, who was extremely excited to get back after missing last season with a knee injury. Despite the previous injury, the Raiders gave him a chance and were impressed with his leadership. He was set to be an important player for the team this year. He was easily the team’s best interior pass rusher with 59.5 career sacks.
At 33-years-old, McCoy’s body isn’t as durable as it once was. It remains to be seen if he hurt the same knee that he did last year. Regardless, this isn’t a good sign for his future. He’ll now have to start the road to recovery. Even though he can’t play this season, the Raiders would be wise to keep him involved. He brings a lot of leadership and knowledge to a young defensive line.
Damion Square Replaces McCoy
As Rapoport noted, the Raiders were quick to replace McCoy with Damion Square, who was on the Chicago Bears practice squad. The veteran defensive lineman spent the last six years with the Los Angeles Chargers. During four of those seasons, Square was coached by Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Through one game, former Bradley players played really well.
Cornerback Casey Hayward looked like his former Pro Bowl self and Darius Philon was all over the field. It’s wise to bring in a player who should be very comfortable in the defensive system. McCoy wasn’t a starter so the Raiders don’t need Square to be one. They just need him to provide some depth. Johnathan Hankins and Quinton Jefferson are the starters and that isn’t likely to change. Losing McCoy is a brutal development but the Raiders were fortunate to find a veteran replacement.