Many questioned the Raiders final 53-man roster having just four linebackers on it. With the re-signing of Kyle Wilber, that number was back to five. That is still not a lot of linebackers and Sunday it bit the Raiders in the butt.
Vontaze Burfict came into the game with nagging injuries to his shoulder and his knee. Then he suffered another injury to his elbow in the game, so he’s banged up to say the least. During the game, Maquel Lee suffered an ankle injury that could be more than just banged up. Nicholas Morrow also hurt his ankle. And suddenly the only two healthy linebackers the Raiders had were Tahir Whitehead and Kyle Wilber. It’s really no wonder the Vikings were gouging the Raiders defense on the ground the whole game.
“Yeah, you get worried when you have three of your linebacker come out of the game,” Gruden said. “Yeah, I’m concerned to say the least, but Mike Mayock and the staff are working hard to come up a contingency plan if we need to find a linebacker.”
The first step in that contingency plan will be bringing in some free agent linebackers for a workout, Gruden added. He noted that there is still a chance a couple of the banged up linebackers on the team will be able to play next Sunday in Indianapolis.
There is currently one linebacker on the team’s practice squad. His name is Justin Phillips. He is an undrafted rookie out of Oklahoma State.
You’d have to think Jason Cabinda would be a great option to fill in on short notice. He spent all last season with the team, appearing in ten games and starting three. He spent all offseason and training camp with the team and was waived in the final roster cuts, so he knows the defense fairly well.