Raiders coach Jon Gruden on Monday said he did not ask the NFL to move Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers to Monday or Tuesday to give the team more time for players on the COVID-19 list to return.
“I don’t get involved in it, honestly,” he said. “We did not expect the game to be moved. We knew we were going to be compromised somewhat by preparation because of the guys that weren’t able to play and weren’t able to practice. But it was 24-20 with 11:57 left and we have our opponent third-and-13. We didn’t get it done, and it’s a reflection on me.”
The Raiders, who lost 45-20, played without starting right tackle Trent Brown, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Safety Johnathan Abram was also unavailable because he was deemed a high-risk contact of Brown because they had seen each other Tuesday.
Abram probably would have been able to play had the game been moved back to Monday. The other four starting offensive lineman who were in quarantine were able to play Sunday.
Gruden is optimistic Brown could return for this Sunday’s game at Cleveland.
“Don’t know yet, but I’m crossing my fingers,” he said. “I did talk to Trent yesterday before the game. I don’t know when he’s eligible to be back in the building, but I do know it is sometime this week. It’s all pending him passing a test or two or three before that happens.”
Gruden provided an update on starting left guard Richie Incognito, who is eligible to return from injured reserve.
“He’s still nursing an Achilles injury,” Gruden said. “My understanding is yesterday and today have been the best two days that he has had. I don’t know that he’ll be up this week, but he is getting closer to returning and that’s exciting for us.”
Incognito, 37, played all 63 snaps in the Raiders’ opener against the Panthers. He left the Week 2 win over the Saints after just 11 snaps and has missed the last four games.
Gruden added that running back Josh Jacobs is healthy despite posting a career-worst 1.7 yards per carry Sunday.
“He’s beat up no doubt, just like most running backs and football players are at this point,” he said. “Tampa Bay is an excellent defense. They’re an outstanding run defense. They’re a hard team to run against. They jam the front. To answer your question, yes, I think he is fine.”
Pulling the Ruggs
Gruden said the offense needs to find a way to get first-round pick Henry Ruggs more involved in the offense.
The rookie from Alabama had two catches on three targets and gained 35 yards in the game.
“We tried yesterday, but give Tampa Bay credit. They covered Ruggs III, and a few times they covered him like a blanket,” Gruden said. “So Ruggs III has to beat one-on-one coverage. Certainly, we have to diagram more plays to get him the ball, but when it is one-on-one we need him to win. He knows that. We know that. We’re going to continue to work him in our offense. He’s still a young player, but to answer your question, yes.”
Abram was officially reinstated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday, clearing the way for him to practice this week and play against Cleveland.
Defensive lineman David Irving and defensive back Dylan Mabin were sent back to the practice squad.
Irving, who was signed last week and has been out of the league for two years, was promoted to the active roster on Saturday only to be inactive for the game.
Mabin was active Sunday and played eight snaps on special teams.