ALAMEDA – The Raiders might play Kansas City without one of their best weapons. They are, however, getting one back.
Amari Cooper is a question mark for Sunday’s pivotal AFC West matchup. He remains out with an ankle sprain, and has not been cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol. He didn’t practice Wednesday, nor was he working on the side.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio remains hopeful that Cooper will play, but he’d have to get ramped up in a hurry to do so.
They’ll definitely get Michael Crabtree back. The veteran receiver returned from suspension on Tuesday and will be an integral part of the Silver and Black’s attack.
“It’s going to be huge,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “We’ve been through this a couple of times this year. Anytime you can get a piece back, it’s nothing against anybody else, but those guys are starters for a reason. Those guys got all the reps.
“With ‘Crab’ coming back, obviously it’s no secret. I love throwing him the ball. I love ‘Crab’ and I think a lot of people know that. So being able to get him back, it definitely helps our team.”
His job will be a bit easier this time around.
The Chiefs suspended cornerback Marcus Peters for Sunday due to an incident in last week’s loss where he threw an official’s flag into the crowd and left the field despite not having been ejected.
The Raiders will benefit from Peters’ omission. He’s one of the league’s best cover men, with 17 interceptions in less than three seasons. Carr has been willing to throw his way, but it will be easier to complete passes with him out. The Raiders might tweak their game plan with him out for a game.
“You do what you can to adjust,” Del Rio said. “This time of year, you’re typically adjusting to injuries that occur. We’ll treat it very similarly to that. We’re trying to get our own group of guys healed up as best as possible for this game. That’s part what we do in this league is the next guy plugs in and you keep rolling.”
The Raiders plugged in Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton with Cooper and Crabtree out for last week’s victory over the New York Giants.
They’ll get a motivated Crabtree back for this one.
“I know how much ‘Crab’ is a competitor and I know how much he loves football,” Carr said. “I know just from having to miss a game this year because of my back how much that sucks. As much as we work hard and love to compete and be out there with our brothers, I know it just was hurting him because he just likes to be out there. For him to be able to come back, I can pretty much promise you he’s juiced and ready to play.”