OAKLAND – Linebacker Malcolm Smith missed most of the Raiders practice week with injury, leaving a thin interior linebacker corps to pick up the slack. Rookie Cory James, special teams specialist Darren Bates and brand newcomer Perry Riley were that position group’s only healthy bodies, for two practice sessions.
Smith returned for Friday’s walk thru, and proved healthy enough to be active for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers. That’s a boon for the Raiders defense against veteran Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, assuming he's able to play significant snaps. The Raiders have more healthy bodies than inactive slots, so it's uncertain how fit Smith is at this point.
The Raiders tight ends weren’t quite so lucky. Clive Walford was deemed inactive with a knee injury a week after Lee Smith suffered a season-ending ankle injury, leaving Mychal Rivera and practice-squad promotion Ryan O’Malley as Sunday’s only healthy tight ends.
Austin Howard has returned from an ankle injury, though rookie Vadal Alexander will make his second straight start against the Chargers. Latavius Murray was ruled out earlier this week with a toe injury. DeAndre Washington will start in Murray's place, though Jalen Richard will see significant touches. Jamize Olawale could factor into the run game as well.
No. 3 overall pick Joey Bosa will make his season debut for the Chargers after missing four games with a hamstring injury. San Diego will be without cornerbacks Jason Verrett – he’s now on IR with an ACL tear - and Brandon Flowers.
Here are inactives from both teams.
Today's Inactives: QB Connor Cook, S Nate Allen, RB Taiwan Jones, RB Latavius Murray, T Menelik Watson, OL Matt McCants, TE Clive Walford.
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) October 9, 2016
Our #SDvsOAK inactives
LB Denzel Perryman
RT Joe Barksdale
TE Asante Cleveland
CB Brandon Flowers
S Jahleel Addae
LB Nick Dzubnar
C M Tuerk
— #SDvsOAK (@Chargers) October 9, 2016