The Las Vegas Raiders face another brutal injury as fullback Alec Ingold is done for the season with a torn ACL. Though fullbacks aren’t used as often in the NFL, Ingold developed into an important player and leader for the team. He was even named team captain heading into the season. With him no longer able to take the field, the Raiders quickly signed his replacement.
The team announced that they’ve signed Sutton Smith to the practice squad.
He’s not signed to the active roster yet but the Raiders use fullbacks in many packages so it’d be a surprise if the team didn’t elevate him ahead of Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tight end Foster Moreau was put in to replace Ingold at fullback in Week 10 but he’s much better utilized at his natural position.
Smith has yet to play in a regular season game so it’s possible the Raiders address the position further. In order to make room for the fullback, the team released wide receiver Gary Jennings off the practice squad, who was just signed last week.
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Smith Played a Bit of Linebacker for Steelers
Smith came into the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2019. He was a two-time First-Team All-American during his time at Northern Illinois as a fullback. However, the Steelers attempted to play him at linebacker. He even played some preseason games at the position but never got on the field in the regular season.
Over his career, he’s jumped around the practice squad for the Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks. He was most recently a member of the New Orleans Saints but was let go before the season started. The Raiders will be providing him a rare opportunity. There are few fullback opportunities in the NFL and the team doesn’t currently have another one on the roster. Ingold will be the team’s fullback heading into the future but Smith could solidify a roster spot for the rest of the season and see his first game action if he can impress the Raiders.
Raiders Offense in a Rut
After a strong start to the season, the Raiders offense is in a serious rut. They’ve scored a combined 30 points in the last two games – both losses. Quarterback Derek Carr looked like an MVP candidate early on in the season but is forced to carry too much of the offensive burden. The running game is nonexistent and the team only rushed for 50 yards in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The most concerning thing is that the Raiders struggled against a terrible Chiefs defense. If they can’t score points against that defense, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to score points against anybody. The 2021 season is looking far too similar to the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Another strong start followed by a second half of the season collapse. If the offense can’t get it together, the Raiders will miss the playoffs once again.