Raiders notes: Jon Gruden's unused plays for Martavis Bryant 'getting stale'

Raiders notes: Jon Gruden's unused plays for Martavis Bryant 'getting stale'

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have several players in various stages of rehab. Some are fighting through ailments. Others just got hurt in Sunday’s 40-33 loss to Kansas City. Still more are working their way back to health, including a few names you know.

Martavis Bryant is one of them. The receiver suffered a PCL injury in a Week 10 loss to the L.A. Chargers and hasn’t played since.

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Bryant would return at some point this season, and was designated questionable on Friday’s Raiders-Chiefs injury report despite not practicing in three weeks. Then he was downgraded to doubtful the next day, and now head coach Jon Gruden isn’t sure whether Bryant will return at all.

“I have no sense, common sense or sense on Bryant,” Gruden said, before digressing on to another topic.

The Raiders need receiver help in the worst way, with Marcell Ateman playing beyond his experience, Jordy Nelson still returning to full health and Jared Cook the only consistently dynamic option.

“We have a lot of plays, and when the players are healthy it’s a lot more fun to use some of those plays,” Gruden said. “Hopefully Martavis Bryant can start using some of his plays, because they’re getting stale in my office.”

This isn’t the first time Gruden has tried to push Bryant back toward the field. He did so a few times in training camp, calling him the “white tiger,” inferring to the rarity in which those animals (and, by extension, Bryant) are seen in their habitat. Bryant missed several camp practices dealing with migrane headaches.

Penn return uncertain

Gruden isn’t sure whether right tackle Donald Penn will return off injured reserve this season. That’s still up in the air at this stage, even as Penn’s rehab progresses.

Gruden believes it’s possible he could start practicing again, though there’s no certainty that he’ll return to game action.

“He came in the office last week and he’s excited about where he is,” Gruden said. “Maybe we’ll get him on the practice field at some point, but I don’t know that we’ll see him this year. It is encouraging to see him getting better and coming close to getting back on the grass.”

Marshawn Lynch is also on injured reserve, and could be eligible to return for a Christmas Eve game versus Denver. That doesn’t mean he will.

“I saw Marshawn a couple weeks ago,” Gruden said. “I think he’s getting better, but he’s rehabbing on his own. I know (Raiders head trainer) Rod Martin is keeping a close eye on it. I don’t know that he’ll be back this year, either.”

Raiders make Good claim

The Silver and Black claimed guard/tackle Denzelle Good off injured reserve from Indianapolis on Monday. He has played four seasons, with 20 starts to his credit. He had 10 in 2016 with Indianapolis.

Guard/tackle Ian Silberman was waived in a corresponding move.

Banged up D-Line

Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was limited with an ankle injury heading into the Chiefs game, and a few others pulled up lame. That included Shilique Calhoun and Arden Key, who were sore after the contest and could be limited during the upcoming practice weeks.

Pro Bowl: Raiders shut out as Jared Cook and Rodney Hudson snubbed


Pro Bowl: Raiders shut out as Jared Cook and Rodney Hudson snubbed

Jared Cook has been excellent this season. The Raiders tight end has set career highs in all major statistical categories, and ranks near the NFL’s best in catches, yards and touchdowns at his position.

The Raiders have campaigned for Cook to make his first Pro Bowl roster, with coach Jon Gruden as his biggest champion.

“If he doesn’t make the Pro Bowl,” Gruden said, “there should be an investigation.”

It’s apparently time to assign a special prosecutor. Cook was left off the original Pro Bowl roster, which was announced on Tuesday evening. Center Rodney Hudson might’ve been even more deserving – he hasn’t allowed a sack all season -- but he didn't make it, either.

Cook and Hudson would qualify as snubs on a good team, but it’s hard to fault voting fans, coaches and players for failing to recognize players on a really bad team.

Cook, Hudson and left guard Kelechi Osemele were named alternates for the annual all-star game, which will be played on Jan. 27, 2019 in Orlando, Fla.

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Both Hudson and Osemele were named to the original Pro Bowl roster the past two seasons. This wasn’t Osemele’s year, considering he has already missed five games due to injury.

Cook has never made it, and was honest about his desire to be named an all star.

Travis Kelce and Eric Ebron were named as AFC tight ends. Maurkice Pouncey and brother Mike Pouncey were named as the AFC’s centers.

It’s entirely possible that all three Raiders alternates will end up playing in the game. Players drop out of the game regularly once the season ends, and Super Bowl participants are not eligible to play since it is scheduled a week after the Pro Bowl.

Gabe Jackson heads to IR, Raiders offensive line facing injury crisis

Gabe Jackson heads to IR, Raiders offensive line facing injury crisis

The Raiders' offensive line is pretty banged up, and won’t get right before season’s end. That was guaranteed when Gabe Jackson was placed on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon with an elbow injury.

The standout right guard battled an ankle injury all year, but was felled by an elbow problem during a Week 14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He got hurt during the game but refused to come out, finishing the game-winning drive in extreme pain.

Jackson would not play again. He was questionable before Sunday’s loss in Cincinnati, but couldn’t go against the Bengals.

“Gabe Jackson is suffering from a very legitimate elbow injury and it’s hard to block people when you can’t extend your arm,” coach Jon Gruden said Monday, a day before the transaction. "We’re concerned, obviously.”

The Raiders are also concerned about left guard Kelechi Osemele’s toe, which has kept him out the last two games.

Jon Feliciano is already on IR with a calf injury, leaving the Raiders in trouble on the inside.

Denzelle Good is now the starting right guard, and will play Monday against the Denver Broncos after allowing five quarterback hurries the week prior. Chaz Green will step in again if Osemele can’t go. He struggled mightily against the Bengals, giving up three sacks to Geno Atkins.

This Raiders offensive line has fallen on hard times after not long ago being considered among the NFL's best. They now have two rookies starting at tackle, and trouble on the interior that won’t go away until the end of the season.

[RELATED: Raiders' possible Coliseum finale brings anything but Christmas cheer]

Oakland also waived veteran linebacker Emmanuel Lamur. He began the year as starting strongside linebacker, but lost his job to Marquel Lee. He rarely played after that on defense or special teams.

Speedy defensive back Rico Gafford and defensive tackle Gabe Wright were promoted from the practice squad in corresponding moves.