Already thin at cornerback, the Raiders were dealt another blow when they lost starter Ron Bartell for at least 6 weeks, as they put him on the injured reserve recall list, meaning he’ll miss at least 6 weeks. Bartell was signed as a free agent off the bargain rack by the cap troubled and cornerback troubled Raiders this offseason. Once a starter in St. Louis, Bartell missed all of last season with injuries, so this is not a good sign for him.
Having lost every cornerback who played a snap for them last season this offseason, the Raiders attempted to rebuild the cornerback position this offseason and were counting on Bartell as a starter, opposite Shawntae Spencer, another bargain rack guy. Now with Bartell out, the Raiders will turn to Patrick Lee, who has one career start, to be their starting cornerback. Final cut of the Eagles’ Joselio Hanson will continue to man the slot.
The Raiders also lost their top pass rusher, Kamerion Wimbley, this offseason and were counting on Matt Shaughnessy returning from injury to lead their pass rush, but they pressured Philip Rivers on just 10 of his 34 drop backs last week in a home loss to the Chargers, even though San Diego’s offensive line isn’t very good. The Raiders travel across the country on short rest for an early game against the Dolphins this week in the heat. Ryan Tannehill struggled last week, if there was ever a game for him to play well, it’s this one. The Raiders’ defense was 29th in scoring last year and could end up being even worse this season, when all is said and done.
The Raiders also put another player on IR, wide receiver and return man Jacoby Ford. Ford was not put on injured reserve recall, because teams are only allowed one of those, so he’s done for the year. A talented return man and a speedy receiver, Ford has struggled with injury problems throughout his career. In his absence, undrafted free agent Rod Streater, who did not live up to the hype in his first game, will play in the slot. Taiwan Jones and Phillip Adams will return kicks.
The good news is that the Raiders will get back starting wide receiver Denarius Moore this week, though hamstring injuries tend to linger. Also returning for the Raiders is center Stefen Wisniewski, who will hopefully add some life to a running game that managed just 45 yards on 20 carries in the opener, despite having Darren McFadden.