The Las Vegas Raiders are about to play one of their most important games in recent history on Sunday. Sitting in a four-way tie for the AFC’s third and final Wild Card spot, the Raiders are essentially in a “must-win” situation against the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately for Las Vegas, COVID-19 has hit them hard right before this pivotal matchup.
As of Thursday, the Raiders have 12 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including key players like tight end Darren Waller, cornerback Casey Hayward and linebacker Denzel Perryman.
The majority of those 12 landed on the list earlier on the week but it did grow yesterday as the team announced defensive end Carl Nassib and guard Jordan Simmons were added to the list. While both players hold reserve roles on the team, Nassib is certainly the bigger loss of the two.
The six-year pro is a fixture in the team’s defensive line rotation with 21 total tackles on the year, and he ranks tied for fifth on the team with 14 pressures. Whereas Simmons has only registered 31 offensive snaps on the campaign.
If Nassib doesn’t clear protocols in time, Clelin Ferrell should get more playing time, especially against the Colts’ run-heavy offense, while rookie Malcolm Koonce could get some extra reps as well.
Both Nassib and Simmons could return to action on Sunday with the NFL’s updated COVID protocols if they are vaccinated, asymptomatic for at least 24 hours and test negative.
Yesterday did bring some good COVID-related news for the Raiders, though. Starting wide receiver Bryan Edwards was activated off the reserve list after having to miss last week’s game against the Broncos. That’s certainly a welcomed sight seeing as they’re already thin at the position.
Indianapolis is facing issues with the virus of their own as well this week. They have six active players on the COVID list, including starting quarterback Carson Wentz. However, Wentz could return for the game even without testing negative if he’s asymptomatic with the league’s new policy, per The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones.
In other Raiders links:
- Richard Seymour named HOF finalist: the former Raider and Patriot is one of 15 players to be named a finalist.
- Trevon Moehrig makes Gil Brandt’s All-Rookie team: “Moehrig has done a little bit of everything for the Raiders, ranking second on the team in pass breakups (six) and fifth in tackles (49). He’s also garnered PFF’s third-best defensive grade among rookie DBs to have played 200-plus snaps. It’s early, but Moehrig is looking like one of the better early-round draft picks made by the Raiders in recent years,” said the legendary NFL executive.
- Raiders can be eliminated from playoff contention Sunday: per the Associated Press’ Josh Dubow, Las Vegas gets eliminated with a loss, Chargers win over the Broncos, Patriots win over the Jaguars and Bills win over the Falcons, in a worst-case scenario.