Raiders injury update: When Gabe Jackson could return from knee injury


Raiders injury update: When Gabe Jackson could return from knee injury

ALAMEDA – Right guard Gabe Jackson has made significant progress in his recovery from a knee injury, allowing the Raiders to feel comfortable carrying him on the 53-man roster until he’s ready to go.

The other option was placing him on injured reserve Monday with an eye on designating him to return after the minimum eight-week stay.

Jackson got hurt Aug. 8 in a joint training camp practice with the L.A. Rams, suffering an MCL injury that originally came with an eight-week recovery timetable. That would put him back in time for a Week 7 contest against Houston, with a Week 6 bye to get ready to go.

The Raiders want Jackson back as soon as possible, making it worthwhile to carry him until he’s healthy.

Head coach Jon Gruden has been pleased with Jackson’s recovery, who was moving well after Tuesday’s practice.

“I saw Gabe walking around, so I followed him around to see how that knee is doing,” Gruden said. “Really happy to see the progress that he’s made. We didn’t put him on IR for that reason. We think after the first few ballgames he’ll be close to returning.”

The Raiders are still search for the right mix at guard, with Jackson hurt and left guard Richie Incognito suspended while violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Gruden said Denzelle Good’s set to start for Jackson, despite missing most of the preseason recovering from back surgery.

Jordan Devey and Jonathan Cooper are under consideration on the left, though the jury’s still out.

“We’ll see how this week goes. [Cooper] and Jordan Devey will battle that out,” Gruden said. “You have to consider how many lineman you are going to have active, seven or eight? Who’s the backup center? Who’s the swing tackle? Those are some things we’re wrestling with here between now and Wednesday.”

Raiders hope to bring Johnson off IR

Rookie cornerback Isaiah Johnson was placed on injured reserve Monday, but Gruden expects to bring the University of Houston product back around midseason.

Johnson has been down since the preseason opener, when teammate Marquel Lee inadvertently kneed him in the head. Johnson was diagnosed with a concussion, but has also dealt with a facial injury from the incident that won’t keep him down all year.

“I hope he comes back about Week 8. I hope he can,” Gruden said. “I think he has a chance to be as good a corner as we have here. He’s long. He’s a press corner. He’s talented. He got off to a great start. So hopefully late in the year there’s a spot for him.”

Johnson would come back as the fourth or fifth cornerback, but could impact the team immediately on special teams. He was an excellent gunner in punt coverage during his college days.

Other injury notes

-- Edge rusher Maxx Crosby has been practicing with a club lately to protect his surgically repaired hand, which got fractured during the preseason opener versus the Rams. He has switched to a different wrap, one that allows for the use of his fingers. That will help him perform in practice and games, possibly when the Raiders regular season opens Sept. 9.

-- Receiver J.J. Nelson has returned to practice after two-plus weeks down with an ankle sprain. The speedy wideout is being eased back into action, but said he’s moving comfortably and is re-integrating himself into the offense well. Nelson had an excellent start to training camp bef            ore getting hurt against Arizona.

Raiders' Karl Joseph disappointed to get hurt playing his best football

Raiders' Karl Joseph disappointed to get hurt playing his best football

ALAMEDA -- Karl Joseph sat in the Raiders locker room Monday, with a pair of crutches by his side. A walking boot was nearby, transportation aids given the state of his ailing foot.

Joseph got hurt sealing Thursday's victory over the L.A. Chargers, a leaping interception was his final on-field act as a 2019 Raider.

That’s a difficult reality for Joseph and those around him. The West Virginia alum was popular throughout the locker room, a relentless worker playing the best football of his career before an injury that ended his season far earlier than expected.

“I think, as a team, we really started to click. That’s especially true in the secondary,” Joseph, who formally placed on injured reserve, said Friday. “It wasn’t just me necessarily. I think I was playing good ball, but we were coming together. I really believe we started to play good football and I wanted to be part of it moving forward.

"We have a strong chance to go to the playoffs. That’s what is frustrating part for me.”

Joseph is an eternal optimist, someone who relies on faith to weather tough times. It doesn’t eliminate frustration completely. Joseph knew his season was in jeopardy right away.

“The first night was pretty rough,” Joseph said. “I knew right away that something was wrong. I couldn’t even walk right afterwards. The next day I was rebounding. I was raised on strong faith. I’ve been through a lot of adversity in my life, so this is nothing new. I’ll be okay.”

Joseph is waiting for the swelling to go down before formulating a rehabilitation plan. He will visit with renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay, Wis., and ponder surgery based upon the doctor’s evaluation.

His season is over no matter what, with the possibility of a lengthy rehab ahead. The timing isn’t great considering the Raiders didn’t pick up his fifth-year option. He’ll head into unrestricted free agency without a chance to show he’s fully healed and ready to play at the high level found in games before the injury.

The Raiders’ 2016 first-round draft pick hopes to remain in silver and black next season, when the team moves to Las Vegas.

“Of course. This is the team that drafted me,” Joseph said. “I love playing with this group of guys. I love working with this coaching staff and in [defensive coordinator Paul] Guenther’s system. It’s great for me and the safeties. We’ll see what happens. It’s out of my control now. All I can do it get healthy and get better.

"I believe everything will work itself out.”

Joseph’s safety partnership with Erik Harris was working out well. The pair was in great sync in recent games, allowing both players to maximize abilities, make big plays on the ball and minimize the communication errors that plagued the secondary earlier this season.

Harris was disappointed to see his partner fall, especially when an interception slipped through his hands a few plays earlier.

[RELATED: Swearinger ready to bring immediate aid to Raiders' ailing secondary]

“He has a very positive outlook on life and that will help him through this,” Harris said. “I just feel bad because, if I would’ve made that pick, then him and [Lamarcus Joyner, who suffered a hamstring strain a few plays before Joseph got hurt] would be healthy right now. It’s just unfortunate.

"Karl is a great guy and a great player. I want to see him be healthy and to get paid. There is not a harder worker in this building than him. He strives to be great. He will lean on his faith, and that’s big.”

D.J. Swearinger ready to bring immediate aid to Raiders' ailing secondary


D.J. Swearinger ready to bring immediate aid to Raiders' ailing secondary

Yes, the Raiders are 5-4. Yes, the playoffs are a realistic possibility.

But issues abound in Oakland.

Jon Gruden's gritty club has fought through a rash of injuries, a five-game road trip, the suspension of Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown's decision to go AWOL to be in the thick of the playoff hunt in November. But the Silver and Black's secondary is running on emergency power after Karl Joseph suffered a season-ending injury on the final play of the Raiders' Week 10 win over the Chargers.

With Joseph out for the season, that means the Raiders are missing both of their starting safeties -- Johnathan Abram has been out since Week 1 -- as well as their starting middle linebacker and two defensive ends. Gruden is trying to patch the defense together as the Raiders prepare for a playoff run.

D.J. Swearinger is the latest member of the duct tape brigade. The Raiders signed the veteran safety Saturday, and hope he can slide in immediately and give them some relief in the backend. 

It's hard for players to come in cold off the street and learn a new system, but Swearinger played in a similar scheme in Arizona, so he isn't worried about the learning curve. 

"It's not a new system for me because Arizona ran the exact same system," Swearinger said Monday. "Just got to get the different terminology, which is sort of the similar terminology in Arizona --- almost identical -- with a few coverages so it's not a hard transition for me. I'm going to fit right in, do my studying and make it happen."

Swearinger played in four games for the Cardinals this season before being released. The 28-year-old veteran safety has played for four teams prior to the Raiders, including two stints with the Cardinals, notching 14 interceptions and 40 passes defensed in his seven-year NFL career.

He's versatile, experienced and likes to hit. Most of all he's hungry and ready to seize the moment, both for himself and the Raiders.

"It's a great opportunity, man," Swearinger said. "I'm happy to be here. Happy to be with a coach like coach Gruden. I know what he means to football, know what he brings to the table. I'm excited to be here, they are doing some great stuff here. I'm ready to add whatever I can to help this team win and win a championship."

With both their starting safeties done for the season, the Raiders are in the unfortunate position of having to rely on a guy that's been in the building for only couple days. Swearinger has the talent, and the Raiders need him to be at his best right away.

"I like Swearinger," Gruden said Monday. "He played for my brother in Washington. I was a broadcaster at one point, I spent a lot of time in South Carolina with my friend [Steve] Spurrier, so I know a little bit about Swearinger. I think he's a good player, he just has to put it all together. That's what he needs to do. He's got to start that process today. We need the very best of Swearinger."

[RELATED: Ferrell arrives with statement game in Raiders' TNF win]

He's spent the last month waiting for an opportunity, viewing this tough Raiders team from afar.

"They got grit and it starts with the head coach," Swearinger said of his new team. "I love the head coach, I've always loved coach Gruden. From way back in college, from him doing Monday nights. I know what he brings to football and I know playing for a coach like that we're going to bring it every time we step on the field. He expects that. The guys in the locker room ... there are some young guys but they are talented and they want to go to work and you can help but come in and get with the coach."

The Raiders will face an 0-9 Bengals team Sunday in Week 11, a vertically challenged team that should present limited problems for a new safety getting his feet wet in silver and black. Swearinger prides himself on being a physical safety with underrated cover skills. He's tough, emotional and hard working.

Gruden and the Raiders need all of that to translate into winning football in the backend of the Raiders' secondary. The playoffs might depend on it.