The Oakland Raiders flew into Minnesota with five healthy linebackers on the roster – they left with two.
Throughout the course of Sunday’s 34-14 loss to the Vikings, the Silver and Black’s linebacking corps saw nearly half of its active members go down with some type of health ailment – Marquel Lee only played five snaps before his day was cut short with an ankle injury, and both Vontaze Burfict and Nicholas Morrow were limited in their availability as well.
Veteran Tahir Whitehead was the only Raiders’ linebacker to play a majority of the snaps at U.S. Bank Stadium – his 59 defensive reps were the most of any player on Paul Guenther’s defense except Karl Joseph – and during his Monday afternoon press conference, Head Coach Jon Gruden gave an update on where the team stood at that position in particular.
“We have a few injuries,” said Gruden. “Some of the players are still getting examined, so I can’t be totally specific, but our linebacking corps – we suffered some injuries yesterday. Burfict with an elbow, Nick Morrow, Marquel Lee with ankles. Trent Brown left the game again yesterday with an ankle, got a number of players that are still being evaluated.”
The totality of the group’s status will likely become clearer as the week progresses, but regardless of who’s able to go or not Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis, Gruden, General Manager Mike Mayock and their respective staffs will do their due diligence in putting together a plan of how to navigate the roster.
“We’ll bring in some players to look at from other teams that are available, and monitor the health of our players,” Gruden explained. “There’s a chance a couple of them can play and practice, and perform in Indianapolis on Sunday, but as a contingency plan, we’ll certainly look at some available linebackers.”
And while there are still six days until the Silver and Black kick off Week 4 action in Indy, Gruden is acutely aware of the problems that an unhealthy linebacking corps could present.
“You get worried when you have three of your linebackers come out of a game,” he said. “Yeah, I’m a little concerned to say the least. Mike Mayock and his staff are working hard to come up with a contingency plan if we need to find a linebacker.”
Outside of Burfict, Lee, Morrow and Whitehead, Kyle Wilber is the only other linebacker currently on the roster.
He played 19 snaps against the Vikings.
Take a look at the top photos from the Raiders' matchup against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.