For the second straight week, not only the Oakland Raiders came away with a loss, but also with important additions to the injury report. Right tackle Khalif Barnes and cornerback Shawntae Spencer, both starters, were not able to finish the game against Miami. Barnes has a groin injury and Spencer, a right ankle sprain. According to head coach Dennis Allen, they will miss “significant time”, which can be translated to them being sidelined more than just a week or two, although there isn’t an official timetable for their return to the team as of now. In order to replace Barnes, the substitute is already known: Willie Smith, who filled in for the former starter against Miami. Smith, who signed with the Raiders a few days before the beginning of the regular season, started 3 games as a rookie for the Redskins last year as a left tackle.
Regarding the cornerback situation, the solution is not that simple. The Raiders are already without Ron Bartell, who can only get back to playing on November 11th, after being sent to the temporary IR. To makes things worse, Joselio Hanson and Pat Lee had a very hard time stopping the Dolphins passing offense, specially against WR Brian Hartline, who recorded a career-high 9 receptions, almost all of them against Lee or Hanson. With their two starters out with injuries, and the backups not being able to stop rookie QB Ryan Tannehill and Hartline (certainly not regarded as an intimidating duo in the league), the Raiders dug into the free agent market and scheduled workouts with CBs Antwaun Molden, Kevin Thomas, Cletis Gordon and Darius Butler.
The 27 year-old Molden was a 3rd round pick by the Texans in 2008 where he spent his first 3 years in the NFL with not much to be talked about, seeing little playing time and some injury problems. In 2011, he signed with the Patriots and had his best season so far, playing in all 16 games, with 2 starts, 25 tackles, 3 pass deflections and 2 interceptions. Molden spent the 2012 training camp with the Giants until being cut before the start of the season. The 6’1 tall player ran a 4.39 seconds 40 yard dash at the 2008 Combine.
Kevin Thomas, who will be celebrating his 26th birthday a couple of days from now, was also a 3rd round pick, in 2010 by the Colts. The former USC Trojan missed his whole rookie year with a knee injury. He played on 9 games in 2011, with 5 starts, 20 tackles and 3 pass deflections. The 6′o tall corner was traded to the Eagles on August 2012, but also got cut before the start of the season. He ran a 4.41 40 yard-dash at the 2010 Combine.
Darius Butler was a 2nd round pick by the Patriots in 2009, where he spent his first two seasons. He was claimed off waivers by the Panthers in 2011, being cut prior to the 2012 regular season. The 26 year-old has 14 career starts, with 21 pass deflections and 3 interceptions (all in 2009, one of which he returned for a TD).
The 29 year-old Cletis Gordon went undrafted in 2006 and spent his first 3 years with the Chargers. He started one game in 2008 and has 3 career pass deflections. After he was released by San Diego following the 2008 season, he spent time with the several teams (including the UFL in 2010).
The Raiders also hosted Andre Carter for a second workout. The 33-year old defensive end made a trip to Oakland before the start of the season but left the Raiders’ headquarters without a contract. Now, the coaching staff wants to take a second look at the free agent, who recorded 10 sacks last year for the Patriots before tearing his left quadriceps tendon. The fact that a player like him is still without a place to call home means that Carter is not completely recovered from the injury, but teams keep on monitoring his situation frequently, which indicates that he might be close to returning to action. It also means that the Raiders are concerned with the defense’s lack of pass rush production: the Silver & Black currently are ranked at 25th in the league in terms of sacks, with only 1 recorded.
Last but not least, the Raiders worked out OT Patrick Brown. The 25 year-old went undrafted in 2009 and spent time with several teams in his career so far, including a 2-year stint with the Vikings from 2010 to 2011, where he was active for 16 games last year.
Stay tuned for uptades on the Raiders injury report and also regarding the possible additions of new faces to the roster.