Early on Wednesday, rumors began to swirl that Trent Brown was being put on the COVID-19 list. While that’s a blow to the Las Vegas Raiders by itself, things could possibly be even worse. Head coach Jon Gruden revealed on Wednesday that they had to send all five starting offensive linemen home because they all came in close contact with Brown recently.
Gruden wasn’t clear on whether or not any lineman will miss time but he probably doesn’t know yet. The Raiders should know soon if any of them are in jeopardy of missing Week 7. This is potentially disastrous for a team coming off their biggest win of the season. Las Vegas relies on its elite offensive line quite a bit. They’ve made it work without Brown most of the season but if Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson or Kolton Miller also have to miss time, the Raiders are in big trouble. It doesn’t appear that any of them have tested positive for COVID-19 yet so they were likely sent home for precautionary reasons.
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Gruden Says He’s ‘Not Happy’
The most frustrating thing for the Raiders is that they just got Brown healthy after missing most of the season’s first five games. Now they will likely not have him for the fourth game this season. Gruden couldn’t hide his frustration.
“We don’t have Trent today, we don’t have any of our linemen today,” Gruden said. “How happy am I? I’m not happy. I’m concerned. I’m really more concerned about Trent … his health more than anything. This is COVID and I’m concerned about anybody who has it.”
Part of the Raiders’ identity has been about having an elite offensive line. They face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week and they have one of the top defenses in the NFL. It’s a really bad spot for the team to be in right now.
Gruden Believes Raiders Will Be Ready to Go
Fortunately for the Raiders, Tom Cable has done an excellent job of coaching up the guys behind the starters. Gruden didn’t say that any of the depth guys had to be sent home. He sounds confident that the Raiders will at least be able to field five guys on Sunday.
“Well, we use other linemen and adjust in practice,” Gruden said after being asked what the team is doing about the missing linemen. “We still got a lot of work done but you gotta have linemen to play. We’ll have five on Sunday, we’ll be ready to go.
Obviously, playing with five backups against an elite defense is far from ideal. Derek Carr could be running for his life. The Raiders have several days to figure things out and they will make moves if they’re down any of the starters. It’s about to be a very stressful week for a team that has shown so much promise, especially on offense. Gruden is probably headed for a few sleepless nights.