Michael Crabtree

Del Rio optimistic Crabtree will play for Raiders vs Ravens

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USATSI

Del Rio optimistic Crabtree will play for Raiders vs Ravens

ALAMEDA – Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree pushed to play the Denver Broncos. It didn’t happen. His activity was halted Friday and he was dropped from questionable to doubtful over last weekend.

Crabtree was back in action this workweek, as a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. That’s a positive step, but head coach Jack Del Rio’s statement holds real promise for Crabtree’s immediate playing future.

Del Rio was asked if he was optimistic the veteran pass catcher would play Sunday against Baltimore.

His answer: “Yes.”

Del Rio doesn’t offer such details unless he’s confident in a player’s status. That should help a Raiders passing game scuffling these past few weeks. Crabtree suffered a chest injury in Week 3 at Washington, and wasn’t ready to play again.

They definitely need him in the pattern. Crabtree’s their most reliable receiver who can draw coverage away from others.

The Raiders pass defense missed some key contributors.

David Amerson was concussed against Denver, but has been cleared to practice while still in the concussion protocol. He was limited.

Gareon Conley was out Wednesday, though he’s expected to get back to practice Thursday in hopes of playing Baltimore.

“He wouldn’t admit much, but I just saw him reacting as though it was sore a little more last week,” Del Rio said Monday. “So, he got the weekend off. We’ll practice him probably Thursday and be smart on Wednesday …And then, get a good workload on Thursday and get him to the game and look at him that way.”

Defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr. (back) and right guard Gabe Jackson (foot) missed their first practice of the regular season.

Raiders will miss Crabtree, Conley vs Broncos

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AP

Raiders will miss Crabtree, Conley vs Broncos

DENVER -- The Raiders included three players on the injury report for Sunday's AFC West opener against Denver. There were some big names among them. None of them will play. 

Receiver Michael Crabtree and cornerback Gareon Conley were rendered inactive against the Broncos, leaving the Raiders thin and vulnerable at two spots. Keith McGill's also out with injury, which hurts coverage in the kicking game. 

Crabtree's absence is a big deal. He was limited in two practices and missed Friday's walk-through, which raised red flags. He suffered a chest injury at Washington, and wasn't able to recover in time to exact revenge against Aqib Talib. The Denver cover man ripped Crabtree's chain off during last year's regular-season finale for no apparent reason, creating some buzz around Sunday's rematch. 

Conley is still dealing with a shin injury that has plagued him since June. His practice activity decreased this week, suggesting he might not be ready to go. That leaves Sean Smith in a vital role a week after he played just three defensive snaps and got torched by Washington tight end Vernon Davis. He should be the third cornerback behind starters TJ Carrie and David Amerson. 

Whether or not Crabtree plays, Talib 'ain't worried about Crab-boy's chain'

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AP

Whether or not Crabtree plays, Talib 'ain't worried about Crab-boy's chain'

ALAMEDA – Michael Crabtree was a limited participant most of this practice week. Then the Raiders’ leading receiver missed Friday’s walk-through session. A red flag went up.

Was there a set back in a chest injury suffered in Sunday’s loss at Washington? Might that impact his chances of playing the upcoming contest at Denver?

Coach Jack Del Rio, do you want to get into that?

“No. I don’t want to get into it.”

Del Rio always takes a hard pass regarding injuries, especially so close to game day. Crabtree’s officially questionable on the team’s injury report, which means a juicy matchup might not happen.

Crabtree doesn’t much like Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. Denver’s All-Pro cover man ripped a gold chain straight off Crabtree’s neck in last year’s regular-season finale. The action was unprompted, and done with malice.

Crabtree was pissed, but didn’t retaliate for a few reasons. A win in Denver would’ve won the AFC West, and he was super close to 1,000 receiving yards (and the bonus that came with it). No sense in harming his team.

The pair were scheduled to play on Sunday. It’ll be an intriguing matchup if it happens. That’ll depend on Crabtree’s health.

Talib, for his part, isn’t focused on history lining up opposite Crabtree.

“I’m not worried about ‘Crab boy’s’ chain,” Talib told Denver reporters. “I’m not worried about any of that. I’m worried about what routes these guys are running, what concepts these guys are running and stuff like that. So that’s the last thing I’m worried about.”

Talib believes Crabtree and Cooper – he was removed from the injury report Friday – will play in this crucial early game.

“It doesn’t matter who’s on the injury report. Crabtree and Cooper will play.”

Crabtree was the only Raider missing Friday’s practice, but safety Keith McGill and cornerback Gareon Conley are also considered questionable. The Raiders certainly hope Conley can play and bring some stability to the secondary, though his shin remains an issue.

Raiders injury report

Questionable: WR Michael Crabtree (chest), DB Keith McGill (foot), Gareon Conley (shin)

Broncos injury report

Out: QB Paxton Lynch (shoulder)

Questionable: WR Cody Latimer (knee)