Thearon W. Henderson
The Raiders lost both their top two running backs last week to high ankle sprains. That usually means they will miss a good amount of time. But despite this fact, the Raiders have not added any new running backs to the mix.
Both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson were not practicing on Wednesday as expected. They both have high ankles sprains which means we should also expect they will miss at least this week's game if not more. But head coach Dennis Allen somehow is not of the same mind.
He has not ruled out either back for Sunday's game. In addition the team did not host or sign any running backs to fill the void which will very likely be left when neither of them plays. He claims the Raiders have the running backs in house.
"I think it is a reflection that we have got some guys in house that we feel like could step in if need be and that's the way it is anywhere in the NFL," said Dennis Allen. "It is really a next man up philosophy and we are going to have to count on some guys to step up potentially and fill a bigger roll but we will know more at the end of the week exactly what we need to do."
The Raiders have just one other running back on the roster- Taiwan Jones. They have two fullbacks in Marcel Reece and Owen Schmitt. Reece lined up at running back last week late in the game but didn't carry the ball at all and hasn't carried the ball once this season. Jones has been in the doghouse for the entire season because of his fumbling issues. He touched the ball twice on Sunday and fumbled on one of those touches. One would think that wouldn't endear him to coaches, and yet somehow Allen suddenly believes in him.
It is good that Taiwan is getting his shot finally. But going into this game with one healthy half back is not wise. The only other option at this point is activating rookie running back Jeremy Stewart from the practice squad. That invokes even less confidence than relying on Jones but at least it would provide a backup plan in case Jones gets injured.
The Raiders were able to put up a lot of passing yards against the Buccaneers and their 31 ranked pass defense. But that also resulted in three interceptions because there was no run threat. The Ravens have a much better pass rush especially with Terrel Suggs back. So leaning on Carson Palmer with little run threat again is unwise.
But that's where the Raiders are at. Preparing to make that East Coast trip with one unproven, fumble prone running back and two fullbacks. Dennis Allen may not be officially ruling out Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson but that is inconsequential. If by some miracle, either of them play, they will be useless liabilities.