Raiders

Raiders injury report: Defensive end thin with Arden Key, Josh Mauro out

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USATSI

Raiders injury report: Defensive end thin with Arden Key, Josh Mauro out

The Raiders are low on defensive linemen. Arden Key (foot) and Josh Mauro (groin) were ruled out of Thursday’s game against the L.A. Chargers on the team’s official injury report, Key will be out a lot longer than that leaving just three healthy defensive ends.

The Silver and Black could roll with that trio, seeing Ferrell and Crosby playing most snaps with Mayowa in relief, or call up Kendall Donnerson from the practice squad.

A heavy rotation’s typically employed along the defensive front, though that would be lessened in this instance if the Raiders stand pat against the Chargers. Mayowa has been efficient as a situation pass rusher, while Ferrell and Crosby have had some moments against the run and pass. Losing Mauro hurts the run defense especially, and the Raiders

We know the defensive line is down some key numbers. The Raiders certainly hope the offensive line isn’t in a similar spot with Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown are formally questionable for this game.

Hudson wasn’t close to returning this week, though it’s uncertain whether he can play the Chargers or could use the extended downtime to best prepare for the home stretch. Trent Brown hurt his knee Sunday against Detroit and was done after a brief return to action where he wasn’t himself. An MRI showed no significant damage, and Brown was able to participate in Tuesday’s walkthrough.

Andre James struggled some in his first start at center. David Sharpe held his own on the right, but Brown is needed with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram looming off the edges.

[RELATED: Williams continues No. 1 receiver quest vs. Chargers]

Here’s the injury report for Thursday night’s game.

INJURY REPORT

RAIDERS
Out
DE Josh Mauro (groin)
DE Arden Key (foot)

Questionable
WR Dwayne Harris (ankle)
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
RT Trent Brown (knee)

CHARGERS
Out
DT Cortez Broughton (illness)
DT Justin Jones (shoulder)

Doubtful
WR Geremy Davis (hamstring)
RB Justin Jackson (calf)
S Roderic Teamer (groin)

Questionable
LB Denzel Perryman (knee)
OT Sam Tevi (knee)
NT Brandon Mebane (knee)

 

NFL rumors: Raiders rookie Josh Jacobs expected to play vs. Jaguars

NFL rumors: Raiders rookie Josh Jacobs expected to play vs. Jaguars

The Raiders should receive a big boost this Sunday when they suit up for their final game in Oakland. 

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning that Raiders rookie running back Josh Jacobs is expected to return against the Jaguars after missing last week's loss to the Titans with a shoulder injury. 

Jacobs made an impassioned plea to play against Tennessee and teared up when he leared the Raiders wouldn't let him go. He even took a painkilling injection to prepare for play, but the medical staff ruled the rookie out. 

Coach Jon Gruden hinted Monday that Jacobs could return this week after missing just one game. 

“We’re never going to put a guy out there that can’t play, but we’re going into the last game in the history of the Oakland Raiders and it’s an emotional time," Gruden told reporters. "We’re going to try to win the game. We’re not eliminated from the playoffs and we’re going to try to win every single time we strap it on.”

[RELATED: Sunday marks end of an era for longtime Black Hole residents]

Jacobs, the No. 24 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, has been a star as a rookie this season. He became the first rookie in Raiders history to rush for at least 1,000 yards, and is up to 1,061 on 218 carries. The 21-year-old is averaging 4.9 yards per carry, 88.4 yards rushing per game and has scored seven touchdowns. 

Despite missing last Sunday's game, Jacobs still ranks sixth among the NFL's rushing leaders -- just 10 yards behind Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott.

Raiders say jumping into the Black Hole a 'feeling like nothing else'

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AP

Raiders say jumping into the Black Hole a 'feeling like nothing else'

Raiders running back Jalen Richard drifted into the left flat and caught a screen pass from Derek Carr a few yards from pay dirt. Three receivers were engaged and blocking well before him, allowing Richard to squiggle through traffic and into Oakland Coliseum’s southern end zone.

It was a big moment for the 2016 Raiders, looking to enhance playoff positioning with a Week 16 home win over Indianapolis. It was a big moment for Richard, an undrafted rookie who found himself a major contributor in a playoff push. He didn’t stop to celebrate with his teammates. No way, not after his first touchdown in the East Bay.

There was tradition to uphold. Richard made a beeline for the Black Hole.

“It was definitely planned,” Richard said. “I thought they looked like they were turnt up. Everybody was faded and having a blast. I knew I had to do it.”

It’s a rite of passage for Raiders skill players fortunate enough to score near a notoriously rabid fan section.

“Sometimes I plan on it, and other times it just happens,” Raiders running back DeAndre Washington said. “Once you get in the end zone, you’re your adrenaline is going and you’ve got 60,000 people screaming for you to come get that love. They always embrace you. It’s one hell of a feeling. I would advise anybody who scores to try it at least once.

Jumping into the Black Hole isn’t new. Running back Napoleon Kaufman was first to do it in the mid-1990s -- the Raiders moved back to Oakland in 1995 -- as the Black Hole was established and growing in size and notoriety.

The tradition grew from there and has become commonplace when the Raiders break into the southern end zone. There’s one more guaranteed chance to do so Sunday against Jacksonville, the final Raiders game at Oakland Coliseum and maybe the Black Hole's last hurrah.

It’s not just rushers and receivers who can get in on the act.

Quarterback Jeff George took the leap in 1997. Edge rusher Khalil Mack and linebacker Sio Moore have partied in the crowd. Even 340-pound left tackle Donald Penn jumped into the Black Hole after scoring a big-man touchdown.

Former All-Pro fullback Marcel Reece never missed a chance to party with the fans who unwaveringly supported the Raiders during some lean years.

“Jumping in the Black Hole and celebrating with those fans, those loyalists, those people who bleed silver and black just like you do, it’s like being at Thanksgiving dinner with your family,” Reece said. “It’s that feeling where, no matter what else is going on, nothing else matters but that moment right there. The fact that you scored and gave them a reason to cheer is a feeling that’s like nothing else.”

There is some technique to it. You need a head of steam and decent hops to get over the stadium wall and into the crowd. It’s decently low, but folks have tried to get into the Black Hole and missed. It’s also important to jump up, turn around and go in backwards. The leap of faith will be rewarded by fans ready to catch you.

“You need a little bounce or you’ll get embarrassed,” Raiders running back DeAndre Washington said. “I’ve seen a few guys miss the leap, so you’ve got to be ready to get vertical. Even if you don’t make it, the fans will pull you up. You make get a little beer on you, but that’s part of the experience.”

There’s another aspect of the experience first-timers don’t expect. Getting in is easy. Getting out is another matter.

“Sometimes they don’t like to let you go,” Washington said. “And, if you get in there with the ball, it’s going to be a fight for sure. You have to protect it like you were still running.”

The experience doesn’t last long. Teammates come running up quick, with offensive linemen ready to pull scorers out of the abyss. Beer stains come with it, but it’s a unique part of the Raiders playing experience.

“It’s like you’re a part of the Black Hole for a split second,” Richard said. “You jump up there and you just feed off of their energy. It’s pretty awesome.”