The Oakland Raiders have made the best of a rough year to this point. Currently sitting at 7-8 and just barely outside of the playoffs, the Raiders organization has had lots to be happy about in 2019.
Of course, there has been lots to be frustrated about as well. Injuries have plagued the team all year and the story remains the same heading into their Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos. Starting right tackle Trent Brown has missed a number of weeks with a pectoral injury and was recently placed on injured reserve. With Brown out, Brandon Parker has taken over at right tackle but has had poor results so far.
In the last three games in which Parker has started, Derek Carr has been sacked nine times. Carr was sacked just 16 times in the previous 12 games. After Carr was sacked three times in the early stages of the Raiders’ recent matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers, head coach Jon Gruden decided to make a change and went with David Sharpe.
Sharpe performed well, allowing no more sacks, and will be rewarded for his performance. Gruden has announced that Sharpe will start at right tackle in the Raiders’ final game, via Raiders.com:
“He did okay,” Coach Gruden said when asked about Sharpe’s performance. “He was in a tough spot. We asked him to be a tight end going into the game to give us a different look in the play action passing game and in the running game certainly. He’s not a great route runner yet. (laughter) But Brandon Parker struggled, and we made a change, and right now the ball is in Sharpe’s corner. We plan on starting Sharpe. He deserves it, he did some good things as the game unfolded.”
Sharpe has been a reliable piece in his limited time. The fact that he was asked to fill in at tight end but ended up on the line says a lot about his commitment to the game.
He last started during the Raiders’ Week 7 game against the Green Bay Packers and despite the loss, Sharpe seemed to do very well once again as Carr was not sacked.
As for Parker, it seems he could be relegated to an even smaller role in the future than he had this year. He started for most of the 2018 season but has taken a back seat to Brown this season, appearing in 10 games. Carr was sacked 51 times in 2018, the third-most in the NFL.
Should the Raiders make the playoffs, they will be in a tight spot without Brown, but hopefully, Sharpe will continue to step up as he has thus far.