By Ryan Leong
The Raiders will have their hands full with the New Orleans Saints about to march into the Oakland Coliseum on a two-game win streak. If that weren’t daunting enough, the Raiders injury situation has worsened.
Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are still in walking boots suffering from high ankle sprains. Both players were injured two weeks ago in that loss vs. Tampa Bay. Defensive tackle Richard Seymour also missed practice and is recovering from a hamstring he injured in that same game. All three players are listed as questionable for their status on Sunday. But Jay Glazier of FOX Sports reports that McFadden will likely miss two to four weeks.
Once again, look to fullback Marcel Reece to get the call in most single back sets. Rookie Jeremy Stewart will be the second option. Taiwan Jones who is still struggling to hold onto the ball, will get a rare touch or two but that is likely it.
The secondary is also banged up. Free safety Matt Giordano missed practice with a concussion and strong safety Tyvon Branch is out with a neck injury. For substitutions, the Raiders could move cornerback Michael Huff back to free safety, and put Joselio Hanson, Brandian Ross, Coye Francies or Phillip Adams into the starting lineup opposite Ron Bartell. Branch, who has never missed a game in his Raiders career could be replaced by Mike Mitchell who is primarily a strong safety.
Cornerback Pat Lee is no longer an option. Last Saturday he was placed on waivers to make room for Bartell’s return. Lee will not be returning to the Silver and Black. He was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions.
Cornerback Shawntae Spencer, who has a foot injury, won’t play again this season as he was placed on injured reserve on Saturday. Also placed on injured reserve is linebacker Travis Goethel who has a torn ACL. Linebacker Omar Gaither, was signed to the 53-man roster to replace him and was on the field wearing No. 53.
Now for some good news: Offensive tackle Khalif Barnes is back for his second week of practice. Last week, he was limited in his participation and listed as inactive for the game at Baltimore. This week, he is listed as a full participant on Wednesday and took all the snaps from right tackle. His replacement Willie Smith has been more or less a disaster. He has failed to provide pass protection for Carson Palmer who has been sacked, hurried, and hit multiple times in each game.
Tight end Brandon Myers who suffered a concussion on Sunday was limited in practice. Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was also limited, he tweaked his hamstring during practice.
It should be an interesting game as both quarterbacks Palmer and Drew Brees could run up the score. It could be quite the shootout. Both teams have poor defenses and the Saints are the worst in the league allowing more than 469 yards per game. The Raiders aren’t much better giving up almost 375 yards per contest.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.