Oakland Raiders News: WR Injuries Will Doom Raiders' Early-Season Offense
With the Oakland Raiders first-team offense having yet to find the end zone in two preseason games, the last thing they need is injuries impeding any progress.
Unfortunately, they are having to deal with just that.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said an MRI revealed a sprained left foot on the same foot that Ford injured last season.
Corkran also points out that Allen said Ford will "miss a little bit of time," which very well could mean the start of the regular season.
Ford's injury only compounds the problem the Raiders were already having at the wide receiver position. As Corkran points out, second-year man Denarius Moore has yet to play in a preseason game while nursing a hamstring injury.
Along with fourth-year man Darrius Heyward-Bay, Moore and Ford figure to be two of the top three receivers in this young group.
And when it comes to young groups, it doesn't get much greener than the Raiders receivers. DHB is the elder statesman, and not one receiver on the roster has pulled in 100 passes in the NFL.
This inexperience led to many calling for Oakland to bring in a veteran presence at the receiver position, but the Raiders have so far elected to run with their youth. A strategy that is not without merit as DHB made huge strides last year, and Ford and Moore have both shown they can be big-time playmakers.
However, the potential of this group is being severely set back by the injuries. All of these receivers had an abbreviated time to build up chemistry with quarterback Carson Palmer, who didn't arrive until midway through the 2011 season.
Palmer was with the Raiders for 10 games last season and Ford was only able to play in four of those games while he dealt with his foot injury. Moore was only in seven of those games as he dealt with injuries of his own.
Combine this with the fact that all of these guys are learning a new offense under new coaches Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, and there just isn't enough time for these guys to get on the same page for the early part of the season.
Making matters worse is the fact that the Raiders do not have a proven tight end to help bail Palmer out.
Is it time to panic about the Raiders offense?
This will all lead to the Raiders leaning heavily on the legs of running back Darren McFadden. The problem with this is that the oft-injured McFadden is always just one play away from missing time himself, and the Raiders new zone-blocking scheme has yet to prove it can lead to the outstanding rushing numbers Oakland has turned in the last two seasons.
McFadden has a solid 11 carries for 54 yards this preseason, but those numbers look more pedestrian when you take away the 16-yard carry he had in the preseason opener.
Also, the Raiders had a first-and-goal from the Cardinals' 1-yard line on Friday, and McFadden was stuffed two times before an incomplete pass left them settling for a field goal. Goal line rushing has always been one of the big knocks on Oakland's zone blocking.
All this leaves the Raiders with a potentially weak goal line rushing attack, no proven tight end to catch TDs and an injured group of receivers trying to build some chemistry with their quarterback. This is far less than ideal.
On a positive note, the Raiders' defense has looked much improved in the early going under Allen, which is good because scoring points is going to be a difficult task for this group early in the season.
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