Eleven players are on the Reserve/Injured list; 2018 hasn't been kind to the Oakland Raiders for several reasons, but the injury bug has continued to plague the team all year.
During the Raiders' Week 10 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, both Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant suffered injuries that could make them miss time going forward.
"Real quick injury update. Martavis Bryant has a PCL injury in his knee. Don't know the length of the injury but doesn't look like he will be available for some time," Head Coach Jon Gruden informed the media Monday. "Jordy Nelson has a knee that's being further examined."
Injuries have resulted in the team thin at a number of positions, but the wide receivers position will have some new faces starting Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals if Nelson and Bryant are unable to suit up. This season the duo have combined for 619 receiving yards, 44 receptions, and three touchdowns. Offensively the Raiders have struggled the past two weeks, but the team is going to need players to step up in the absence of Bryant and Nelson.
"It's tough, obviously, with Amari [Cooper] gone and Martavis out. Jordy out. We will knock on Marcell Ateman's door and perhaps give him an opportunity to step forward," Gruden said. "We will bring in some receivers to work out tomorrow and if we need to make a roster spot we will."
Throughout training camp, Ateman was a player Derek Carr targeted frequently, and the rookie made the most of his opportunities. At 6'4", 220 pounds, Ateman is a big receiver with strong hands that can create separation from his defender. With his frame, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy can be a useful weapon going forward if he can build a connection with No. 4.
"He is a big guy," Gruden said of Ateman. "Has played well. He's played multiple positions. As I have said last week, he is also a guy we think has the size and strength to contribute on special teams. [Brandon] LaFell played well. I thought Seth Roberts stepped up and made some nice plays. Hopefully, Jordy is okay. If not, Marcell will get a great opportunity against Arizona."
During his four seasons at Oklahoma State, Ateman totaled 146 receptions, 2,466 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns. The Raiders have been forced to ask a lot of the 2018 draft class, and the same will be asked of the team's seventh round pick in his first NFL game. With veteran playmakers like Brandon LaFell, Jared Cook, and Seth Roberts surrounding the 24-year-old on the field, hopefully he can get comfortable quickly.
In back-to-back weeks the offense has failed to score more than six points, and that simply can't continue. Unfortunately, the Cardinals have one of the best defenses against the pass, giving up the least amount of passing touchdowns this season with 11. We'll see how Carr and the offense rallies against the Cardinals, and how Ateman fairs in his first game action.
Kickoff is at 1:05 PST this Sunday.
Take a look through the top images from the Raiders' game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10 at the Coliseum.