Igwebuike is being elevated for the second time this season. Starting rookie running back Kenneth Walker has returned to the lineup but running back and return man DeeJay Dallas missed a second straight week of practice, meaning Igwebuike will likely have return duties while backing up Walker and Travis Homer.
Smith will be undergoing surgery for a nagging bone spur, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. The surgery will necessitate a recovery period of about four months, so Smith’s 2022 campaign has come to an end.
Parks re-signed with the Jets this offseason after being claimed by the team last December and starting two games. Despite starting another game this season, Parks has spent most of time on special teams in 11 games this year.
The Raiders have activated cornerback Nate Hobbs from injured reserve, the team announced. In a corresponding move, Las Vegas placed G Lester Cotton on IR.
Hobbs, a 2021 fifth-rounder, had started each of the Raiders’ first five games this season after earning nine starts in his rookie campaign. As a rookie, the Illinois product tallied 74 tackles, a sack, and an interception, and while he yielded a healthy 82.3% completion rate on passes thrown in his direction, Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics nonetheless deemed him one of the NFL’s best corners in 2021. PFF had him graded as the 29th-best CB in the league this year before he went on IR with a broken hand in mid-October.
Hobbs’ return is especially timely for Las Vegas, which was recently forced to place another starting corner, Anthony Averett, on injured reserve for the second time this season. Averett has not played especially well in his seven games of action, but the fact that the Raiders have not had their top three corners — Rock Ya-Sin, Averett, and Hobbs — on the field together after Week 1 is obviously suboptimal. The team is near the bottom of the league in terms of total defense and passing yards allowed per game, which is a major reason for its 4-7 record.
However, Josh McDaniels‘ troops have shown some moxie in winning their last two contests, both of which went to overtime. Getting Hobbs back should at least help stabilize the club’s secondary as it looks to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.
Cotton, meanwhile, has bounced between the Raiders’ active roster, taxi squad, and the unemployment line since signing with the team as a UDFA in 2019. Thanks to Las Vegas’ uncertain OL situation this year, he saw significant action in the first two weeks of the season, taking 90 snaps at right guard and earning his first career start in Week 2. Since then, he has played exclusively on special teams and has participated in just a handful of snaps per game.
September 17th, 2022 at 9:40pm CST by Adam La Rose
The Raiders entered the season with one of the most highly-regarded skill-position groups in the league, but a number of questions on the offensive line. That was reflected by a rotation at multiple spots in Week 1, something which is expected to continue tomorrow.
“I think they’ve earned the right to play again this week,” he said of the aforementioned linemen. The two starters drew encouraging PFF grades, but Bonsignore adds that Munford “will remain in the mix” for significant playing time. Of course, outside additions remain a distinct possibility as well.
“We’re playing the guys that deserve to play,” head coach Josh McDaniels confirmed. “There are seven guys that played [Sunday] because they earned the opportunity with their performance throughout the course of the preseason and in training camp.”
With the rotation apparently set to continue for the foreseeable future, the Raiders will look to find a full-time starting unit while aiming for their first win tomorrow against the Cardinals.
The Raiders did not field a particularly good offensive line in 2021. Despite the franchise hiring a new head coach-GM combination, the group remains relatively unchanged. And the team endured a recent setback; Brandon Parker is battling what is believed to be a significant injury, Tashan Reed of The Athletic notes (subscription required).
Parker has not practiced since the Raiders’ preseason opener Aug. 4. The veteran blocker who spent much of last season as the Raiders’ starting right tackle re-signed with the team on a one-year, $3.5MM deal. He continued to work with the first-stringers during the team’s offseason program and into the start of training camp. The Raiders do not view Parker’s injury as season-ending at this point, per Reed, leading to no IR placement. Players can only return from IR if they are carried through to the 53-man roster after the Aug. 30 cutdown day.
Parker being sidelined for a chunk of the season opens the door to one of these options, with the others becoming depth pieces or swing options. The Raiders’ initial depth chart has Lester Cotton, a UDFA who has appeared in five career games, positioned as their right guard starter. Leatherwood having a road back to that gig, should he lose the right tackle competition, would make sense.
The team is not ruling out an outside addition, per Bonsignore, who adds a trade should not be discarded as an option. That may well depend on Parker’s timetable. If the team is to add a player in a non-trade capacity, Bonsignore notes a move should be expected on the waiver wire when rosters are slashed from 80 to 53 players in 10 days. But Las Vegas is not actively scouring the free agent market.
Daryl Williams resides as one of the top options available, but Reed adds the Raiders did not view him well as a Bills right tackle last season. The Bills moved Williams to guard during the 2021 slate. Bobby Massie, a longtime Bears starter who was the Broncos’ primary right-edge blocker in 2021, and Brandon Shell (a Jets and Seahawks full-timer during his career) are available as well.