The Oakland Raiders are off to their best start in a decade, but not without some costly departures. Head Coach Jack Del Rio has managed injuries to the roster, including another key loss to the offense.
Tight end Lee Smith has been lost for the season due to an ankle injury, with offensive lineman dropping consistently. On Friday, the team was notified of another key loss entering their Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Running back Latavius Murray, who is battling a nagging turf toe injury, has been officially ruled out for Sunday, via ESPN’s Field Yates:
Dez Bryant: Questionable
Eddie Lacy: Questionable
Steve Smith, Sr.: Doubtful
Latavius Murray: Out
Sammie Coates: Questionable
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 14, 2016
Murray last played in the Week 4 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Upon being consistently sidelined, Murray was unable to participate in any practices this week. Rookies DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard will carry the workload, attempting to open up the offense for quarterback Derek Carr.
Along with Murray, a few other key players have also been ruled out. Offensive guard/tackle Vadal Alexander didn’t participate in practice the entire week. He has too been ruled out for the Week 6 contest.
Alexander received starts in Week 4 and Week 5, displaying strong results in a replacement role. The next-guy-up philosophy has maintained strong amongst the offensive line, as the 22-year-old stepped up big.
The injury bug has also hit offensive tackle Menelik Watson. Battling a calf injury since early September, Watson has been able to practice. Upon starting in Week 1 and Week 3, he has yet to return to the Raiders.
The Raiders drafted Watson in the second round of the 2013 draft, emerging into a reliable lineman. The 27-year-old has helped aide the Raiders to victories in both games played, keeping Carr upright in the pocket.
Carr, a perennial pro-bowl selection, had only been sacked twice entering Week 5. However, in the battle against the San Diego Chargers, he was sacked three total times.
The Raiders take on the Chiefs Sunday, at 1:05 P.M., Pacific Time. The second consecutive matchup at the Coliseum has huge implications for the Raiders, as they can take a potential division lead in the AFC West.