Former New York Giants standout linebacker Antonio Pierce is making his NFL head-coaching debut for the Las Vegas Raiders against those same Giants on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium (kickoff is 1:25 p.m.).
Pierce, promoted to the Raiders’ interim head coach after Josh McDaniels was fired Tuesday night, was the Raiders’ linebackers coach. In a twist of fate, that unit is very banged up going into this season. Starting linebacker Divine Deablo was ruled out Friday with an ankle game. It’s the second straight game he is missing. Pierce indicated Friday that Deablo is making some progress.
Luke Masterson, who replaced Deablo at Detroit on Monday night, is also out against the Giants with a concussion. Fullback Jakob Johnson is also out with a concussion and right tackle Thayer Munford is out with a neck issue.
Linebacker Robert Spillane is the only Raiders’ player who is questionable to play. he ahs a hand injury, but he practiced on a limited basis the past two days, which could be a good sign.
Newly signed Jaylon Smith and rookie Amari Burney could play more Sunday.
Meanwhile, in no surprise, Pierce said Jimmy Garoppolo will be the backup quarterback to rookie Aidan O’Connell, who is replacing Garoppolo as the starting quarterback. Brian Hoyer will remain the No. 3 quarterback.