The Las Vegas Raiders won’t know until a few hours before their Sunday Night Football game against the Kansas City Chiefs if several players will be available because of injuries and Covid-19 restrictions, but that’s been the norm rather than the exception in this season like none other.
Through it all, the Raiders are 6-3 with a three-game winning streak and have won four of their last five, with a 3-0 record over their AFC West rivals, including a 40-32 upset of the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City last month.
Instead of taking the credit, Coach Jon Gruden spreads it around with the rest of his staff and his players.
“I think they all deserve tremendous credit,” Gruden told reporters. “We’ve had five different right tackles, few different left tackles, number of left guards. We’ve had a lot of players in the secondary and so forth.
“But this is the year, if there ever was a year, that the mission is finish, get to the finish line. Everybody is going to have a huge role at some point just because of the circumstances. I really credit our staff, but most of all our players. They’re focused, and they’re giving you everything they have in a real tough day-to-day situation. I couldn’t be happier with them.”
And Gruden didn’t forget General Mike Mayock and the Silver and Black’s scouting staff, which has provided the depth that is paying off big time this season.
In the last two years, the Raiders have signed free agents such as linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton, wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Tyrell Williams, tackle Trent Brown, guard Richie Incognito, running back Devontae Booker, safeties Erik Harris, Jeff Heath, and LaMarcus Joyner, defensive end Carl Nassib, defensive tackles Maliek Collins and Johnathan Hankins, fullback Alec Ingold and tight end Jason Whitten.
In addition, with Mayock running the show, the Raiders have drafted running back Josh Jacobs, safety Johnathan Abram, defensive ends Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell, wide receivers Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards, cornerbacks Damon Arnette, Trayvon Mullen, and Isaiah Johnson, tight end Foster Moreau, and more.
“No doubt it’s been a group effort,” Gruden said. “The scouting staff, the coaching staff, and the training staff have all played a major role in putting this thing together and we have a long way to go, but we’re getting a lot of contributions from many different people and that’s something we’re excited about.”
Early this week, the Raiders placed Ferrell, who tested positive, and Joyner on the Reserve/Covid-19 list, and added Abram, Hankins, defensive tackles Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins and Kendal Vickers, defensive lineman David Irving, cornerback Isaiah Johnson, and defensive end Arden Key because they came into contact with Ferrell.
Littleton already was on the list.
However, if they pass Covid-19 tests leading up to the game, they could be able to play.
Brown also has been on the list and the Raiders offensive line also has been without Incognito and tackle Kolton Miller in recent weeks because of injuries, but Denzelle Good, Sam Young, Brandon Parker, and John Simpson have stepped in stepped up to keep the line operating at a high level, protecting quarterback Derek Carr and opening holes for Jacobs and Booker.
“The job (Gruden) has done has been unbelievable,” Carr told reporters. “The coolest part about it is, and I love it, is whenever we’ve had different circumstances hit us, no matter what it is, receivers, offensive line, you name it, injuries, Covid-19, the coaches bring us a plan and Coach Gruden says: ‘This is what we’re going to do.’
“And then we go execute the plan and we win games.”
The Raiders hope to do it one more time against the Chiefs.
Tell us what you think in the comment section below and please make sure you like our Facebook Page WHEN YOU CLICK RIGHT HERE.
Want the latest breaking Las Vegas Raiders news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Raiders Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE FOLLOW button on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates for your Las Vegas Raiders when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter, @HikaruKudo1