The Las Vegas Raiders’ already shaky defense took a big hit when it was announced that second-year cornerback Nate Hobbs would be placed on injured reserve. The Raiders’ second leading tackler broke bones in his hand in the Raiders’ loss last Monday to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Hobbs has totaled 36 tackles with three for loss, along with two passes defensed and a forced fumble so far this season. But now the Raiders will be without him for at least the next four games, leaving a big hole for the team to fill. But defensive coordinator Patrick Graham brought up the standard statement when a team loses an important player.
“Well, any time a player gets setback because of injury, especially a player of Nate’s caliber, it’s always next man up,” Graham said. “It’s the biggest thing. It’s a collision sport, injuries are going to occur, and you just hope that he’s doing what he has to do to get better, and then we get him back as soon as possible. But always next man up, nobody’s going to feel sorry for us, so we’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves.”
Graham isn’t wrong in that no one will feel sorry for the Raiders, as every team deals with injuries to important players throughout the season. The Raiders will also have to turn to the players already on the roster to fill the void, but barring a trade that has yet to materialize, the pickings are pretty slim.
The Raiders currently have just three cornerbacks on their 53-man roster: Rock Ya-Sin, Amik Robertson, and Sam Webb. Graham will likely have to turn to safeties to do more in coverage, such as veteran Duron Harmon and second-year man Trevon Moehrig.
Getting more from their pass rush will also go a long way in helping the Raiders’ secondary keep things together, and that is a must, whatever way you cut it. The Raiders host the Houston Texans, and at 1-4, the team must figure things out with whoever is on the field to salvage this season.