The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the Oakland Raiders.
After losing to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday 24-7 – in a game in which quarterback Terrelle Pryor was sacked 10 times and hit four more -- the Raiders have some gaping holes in their offensive line that need plugging.
In Sunday’s game at Kansas City, in which the Raiders fell to 2-4, center Andre Gurode had to leave the game with a knee injury. Then, right tackle Tony Pashos was hurt (groin) and had to leave.
Given the fact that both Gurode and Pashos were in the lineup only because of injuries to starting center Stefen Wisniewski and offensive tackles Jared Veldheer and Menelik Watson, that left the Raiders with third-level players in the lineup for the second half of Sunday’s game.
Guard Mike Brisiel slid over from his guard spot to take over for Gurode and rookies Lamar Mady (guard) and Matt McCants (tackle) replaced Brisiel and Pashos. The makeshift line was overwhelmed in the second half, giving up seven of the 10 sacks, as the Chiefs put Pryor under constant pressure.
“As good as they are on defense, you want to have all of your weapons, all of your guys up front to protect,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told the Bay Area media after the game. “But that’s the NFL, and we have to be able to go out and function and play. We weren’t able to do that (Sunday).”
So what happens now?
The Raiders have two weeks to get some of their walking wounded back on the practice field and into the lineup. Wisniewski is expected back this week, which will allow Brisiel to move back to his guard spot. And if Watson, who suffered a relapse of a calf injury last week, can get back on the field, he could move back to left tackle, allowing Khalif Barnes to move back to his traditional right-tackle position. Plus, Veldheer, who is on the short-term injured reserve list with a torn left triceps that was surgically repaired in August, could be back at his left tackle spot in early November.
Even though the Raiders’ O-Line has been in flux ever since Veldheer’s injury in training camp, the group had been holding its own with contributions by Pashos, Gurode, McCants and the position switch by Barnes. But Sunday’s injuries proved just too much, and the Raiders – or more specifically, Pryor – paid the price.
“The bye week is coming at a good time to get some guys healthy, get some guys rested,” said Allen. “Hopefully the injuries that did occur on the offensive line today are not serious and we’ll be able to get Wis (Wisniewski) and Menelik Watson back out there, if not the bye week, then hopefully the Pittsburgh game (Oct. 27). The big thing for us is to get rested up and healthy.”
Allen told reporters the Raiders aren’t looking for any sympathy. These things happen in pro football, and teams must adjust and overcome them.
“Really, what we have to do is evaluate where the injuries are and make adjustments,” said Allen.