September 15, 2021 - 8:18 am
Updated September 15, 2021 - 3:20 pm
Still reeling from the season-ending knee injury to right guard Denzelle Good, the Raiders woke up Wednesday morning to the news that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy will also be shelved for the season with a knee injury.
It is a devastating blow for McCoy, who missed the entire 2020 season with a torn quadriceps tendon and was just beginning to settle in with his new Raiders teammates.
In his short time in Las Vegas, McCoy had emerged as a veteran leader. And as he showed before getting hurt on Monday night against the Ravens, he had plenty left in the tank.
As news began spreading through the team’s Henderson practice facility on Wednesday, the reaction was understandably sullen.
“It broke my heart,” said Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby. “That dude has done so much work to get back. To see him go out like that is horrible and unfortunate.”
There is no ideal time to absorb season-ending losses to key players, but facing a short week and a long trip to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers, the losses are even more damaging.
“It’s hard,” said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. “But the way that we practice during camp, it doesn’t matter if you’re a one, two, or three, we all practice together. It’s mixed up because coach knows in this game injuries happen.”
It doesn’t help that the Raiders are dealing with a bunch of other injuries. The club altered its practice plans on Wednesday from a regular workout to a walkthrough, as 17 players showed up on the injury report.
The non-participants included LG Richie Incognito (calf), RB Josh Jacobs (toe/ankle), LB Nick Kwiatkoski (concussion), QB Marcus Mariota (quad), DE Carl Nassib (pectoral/toe) and safety Roderic Teamer (ankle).
Meanwhile, DE Yannick Ngakoue (hamstring), LB Denzel Perryman (hip) and FB Alec Ingold (fibula) were limited participants.
To prepare for the McCoy loss, the Raiders signed defensive tackle Damion Square off the Bears practice squad on Tuesday and will put him on the 53-man roster.
To beef up the guard spot, the Raiders signed Jordan Simmons off the Seahawks practice squad and added him to the 53-man roster.
The Raiders also added veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the practice squad and released practice squad cornerback Madre Harper.
One week into the season, there is already a revolving door at the club’s facility.
“That’s the nature of this business,” Crosby said. “Guys are going down. There’s new guys in the building every day. It’s a crazy business, to say the least. But it’s the next-man-up mentality.”
Good’s right guard spot could go to John Simpson or Jermaine Eluemunor, depending on the status of Incognito, who missed Monday’s game with a calf strain and has been unable to practice since suffering the injury in mid-August during a joint practice with the Rams.
The Raiders are hopeful Incognito can return to the lineup on Sunday. If so, he will resume duties at left guard with Simpson sliding over to the right side. If not, Simpson is expected to remain at left guard with Eluemunor, who played well on Monday after replacing Good, remaining at right guard.
McCoy was projected to be a rotational player early in the season with the hope he would grow into a bigger role. That is off the table, obviously, and it puts an onus on third-year defensive end Cle Ferrell, who was inactive on Monday night, to regain the form he flashed throughout the first half of last season before injuries began taking a toll.
“The show keeps going,” Crosby said. “We’ve just got to keep getting prepared and everybody’s got to stay ready and take care of themselves.”
Who: Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers
When: 10 a.m. Sunday
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Line: Steelers -5.5; total 49