The Raiders are on a linebacker hunt. That’s required after three of them got hurt in Sunday’s 34-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Vontaze Burfict missed time with an elbow injury, and was dealing with knee and shoulder soreness heading into the game. Marquel Lee suffered an ankle injury and didn’t return. The same joint is bothering Nicholas Morrow, leaving the Raiders woefully thin at an important spot.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Monday that the team will look at free-agent options during this week.
“We will bring some players to look at from other teams that are available and monitor the health of our players,” Gruden said. “There’s a chance a couple of them can play and practice and perform in Indianapolis on Sunday, but as a contingency plan, we’ll certainly look at some available linebackers.”
Jason Cabinda seems like a logical option. He knows the defense well after playing in it last year and throughout the preseason. He’s currently on Detroit’s practice squad, and could leave that job to join a 53-man roster.
Brandon Marshall’s also on the street, though it’s uncertain whether the Raiders believe he can still play.
The Raiders also have rookie linebacker Justin Phillips on the practice squad.
The team’s first preference would be getting their guys healthy in time to play Indianapolis next week. Lee went down early, leaving the Raiders with four linebackers most of the game and three for some of it.
“You get worried when you have three of your linebackers come out of the game. Yeah, I’m a little concerned to say the least. [General Manager] Mike Mayock and staff are working hard to come up with a contingency plan if we need to find a linebacker.”
Offensive line issues
Gruden said that Trent Brown could not finish Sunday’s game due to an ankle injury. He was questionable for the Vikings game with a knee injury, so this is something new he’ll have to handle and possibly play through.
Gabe Jackson is doing well in rehab from an MCL injury, but won’t return to practice this week. The star right guard could be come back soon.
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“I think he’s continuing to make huge strides,” Gruden said. “Wednesday we’ll get an evaluation from [Head Athletic Trainer] Rod [Martin] and perhaps next week prior to the Bears game, he can start practicing. But he’s getting very close.
"I’ll credit Jordan Devey. He started at guard yesterday. He goes into right guard. We’re anxious to get Gabe back as our right guard. [Richie] Incognito had some good moments yesterday for his first appearance in over a year.
But when we can get our guards back and be at full strength up front -- hopefully Trent’s ready to go -- we really like our line.”