The Las Vegas Raiders were mostly successful in avoiding any COVID-19-related issues through the first few weeks of the season. Until now.
Raiders‘ Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Brown was just placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday after contracting the virus. The news comes after rookie cornerback Damon Arnette landed on the same list two days ago. What’s worse? Head coach Jon Gruden sent home all five starters along the offensive line on Wednesday, putting their status for Sunday in jeopardy.
The Raiders only had one COVID-19 case through six weeks
As positive tests have ravaged teams across the NFL over the last few weeks, the Raiders have been one of the most successful groups in keeping the virus out of their locker room. Through six weeks of the 2020 season, the Raiders had only one positive case, and none of their games were postponed for COVID-19 reasons.
Las Vegas placed defensive tackle Maurice Hurst on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Oct. 6, but he’s not even an everyday starter, so it barely hurt them on the field. Hurst was activated off the list earlier this week, but he was replaced by two significant players immediately after.
Damon Arnette and Trent Brown land on Reserve/COVID-19 list
The Raiders were riding high coming off their upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs and returning from their bye week. Las Vegas seemed to be hitting their stride nearing the midway point of the season, but they just hit a snag thanks to the coronavirus.
On Monday, rookie CB Damon Arnette tested positive for the virus. He was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and sent home from the team facility. Two days later, starting tackle Trent Brown became the second player this week to land on the list.
Arnette’s loss doesn’t mean much to the Raiders’ defense, as the cornerback hasn’t played since Week 3 because of a fractured wrist. He wasn’t on course to play this Sunday either way.
Brown, on the other hand, is a devastating blow to the offensive line. He returned to full strength last week against the Chiefs, and the offense flourished with him back in the lineup. The 6-foot-8 monster can swallow up defenders with ease and make Derek Carr’s life much easier in the pocket.
Now, Carr will be without his main bodyguard against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and he might be without a few more.
The Raiders sent home all five starting offensive linemen
Brown was sent home Wednesday after his positive COVID-19 test result, but he might not be the only one sitting out this Sunday. Gruden spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon and said the team sent home all five starting offensive linemen because they’ve been in close contact with Brown throughout the week.
“Hopefully we’ll get some players back tomorrow for Sunday,” Gruden said.
The head coach didn’t sound too optimistic about fielding a full offensive line unit against the Buccaneers, which would cause major problems to the Raiders’ offense. Tampa Bay also has one of the best defensive fronts in the league, so Las Vegas could be in for a long night come Sunday.