During the NFL season, injuries quickly make themselves a headline. For the Oakland Raiders, that remained a constant headache for them over the past two seasons. Through misfortune and bad luck, the Raiders lost several key players for extended periods of time. Yet, 2018 brings a new hope and focus on building a solid foundation. Yet, the spectre of injury will always hover over any team. Football remains a dangerous sport.
Granted, the health of Derek Carr is the single most important aspect of the entire team. Meanwhile, Gruden appears to show confidence in both Connor Cook and EJ Manuel. While Manuel displays a solid, if unspectacular approach, Cook seems like the wildcard. Gruden loves Cook’s moxie and feisty nature combined with arm talent. Yet, the Raiders do not enjoy an Eagles/Foles situation. If Carr falls to injury for any extended amount of time, the season could turn ugly in a hurry. On the other hand, with Gruden crafting the offense, whoever steps in will have a detailed gameplan for every situation.
Backup Interior Offensive Linemen
For the Raiders, the interior of their line counts as a strength. With Osemele, Hudson and Jackson, Oakland benefits from such dominant play. Yet, if one succumbs to injury, what happens? Jon Feliciamo can step in an adequately hold the fort for a while. Feliciano works well in a phone booth and doesn’t mind mixing it up with defensive tackles. Luckily, the Raiders can rely on him to slide in.
Denver Kirkland affords the Raiders the ability to punish defenders. Although not blessed with astounding gifts, Kirkland’s bulk and tenacity carries him through.
Currently, Jared Cook sits atop the list as the starter at tight end. Yet, if Oakland loses him, considering who sits behind him, does the dynamic change? Cook excels down the seam and provides average blocking. However, Lee Smith and Derek Carrier thrive on contact blocking. While each shows capable hands, neither can matcg Cook’s explosion.
Through meticulous effort, Jon Gruden remade the entire roster. Any significant injury hurts this team. However, the structure of the offense could withstand a few shoter-term setbacks. The raiders actually employ a coach that leaves no stone unturned.