The Oakland Raiders were already facing a tough game against the Houston Texans on Sunday, and things could get worse. In Friday's injury report, both Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy were listed as questionable for the game against the Texans.
Coach Tom Cable downplayed the the status saying he thought that both players would be "all right" for Sunday. That is what a coach is supposed to say, but it makes you wonder. If there was no concern, they would be listed as probable, there must be a reason that he chose questionable.
If either Heyward-Bey or Murphy were to be out this week, it would highlight the Raiders' serious lack of depth at the wide receiver position. With Yamon Figurs no longer on the team, Johnny Lee-Higgins is the only other Raiders wide receiver with a reception this season.
The Raiders have young talent in Jacoby Ford and Nick Miller but neither has seen much time or made any plays in the passing game this season.
Jacoby Ford did have an impressive showing at kick return against the Arizona Cardinals last week. If he can translate that success to the passing game, it would help solidifying the depth at the wide receiver position. Chaz Schilens coming back will also be a big help, but who knows when that will be.
Schilens missed eight games last season and the Raiders have been all but silent on his status this year. Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle has predicted that he will be back in Week 7 and come off the bench. But as we all know, the chances of the media accurately predicting what the Raiders will do are slim to none.
Even if both Heyward-Bey and Murphy are able to play on Sunday, they obviously will not be 100 percent. The Oakland Raiders are thin at the wide receiver position even with Heyward-Bey and Murphy healthy.
The Raiders will enter their second home game of the season with both starting wide receivers playing injured, and without a strong supporting cast to pick up the slack.
Raiders fans understand how frustrating injuries can be for the team. The Raiders have seen a number of players suffer injuries that took out serious chunks of playing time.
While Heyward-Bey and Murphy may be able to play on Sunday, it might not be the best of ideas, just ask Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson. Johnson played last weekend with an injured ankle and aggravated the injury.
Before the start of the season, I wrote an article urging the signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh in order to address the lack of experience and depth at the position. There were reports that the Raiders were among Houshmandzadeh's top choices, but for whatever reason, it didn't happen.
Much of the talk about issues on the Raiders offense is spent on the offensive line. Next to them, the wide receivers are the Raiders biggest concern with cornerback being the only other position to even come close to being as big of a concern.
There are no longer any strong prospects in the free agent market and besides Vincent Jackson, who the Raiders will not be able to land, there have not been many rumors about receivers on the trading block.
However, if Al Davis really wants to upgrade the position, he will do it. I mean, after all, no one thought that Richard Seymour was on the trade block before he came to the Raiders.
Bruce Gradkowski did a fair job with the Raiders offense against the Cardinals last weekend. He was not great, but he moved the ball better than the Raiders had moved it all season. If the Raiders want this offense to really pick up, they badly need to add more depth to the wide receiver position.