Nicholas Morrow

Raiders injury report: Arden Key to miss significant time with broken foot

Raiders injury report: Arden Key to miss significant time with broken foot

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders are banged up without much time to recover before Thursday night’s game against the L.A. Chargers.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said three players were set for MRIs on Monday, and a source said the results were mixed.

Further testing confirmed Raiders fears that defensive end Arden Key had suffered a broken foot. He's expected to miss significant time, a real setback for a second-year pro who's starting to finish sacks and make positive strides. He had sacks in back-to-back games, including a third-down takedown in Sunday's victory over the Lions.

The news was better for star right tackle Trent Brown. His MRI showed no significant damage, and there's a chance he could play against the Chargers. He could be questionable for that game, though that won't be known until Wednesday's injury report is released.

Cornerback Daryl Worley has a strained Achilles’ tendon that is not torn. Worley had an MRI but should be OK moving forward, though the quick turnaround puts his status in some question. 

Center Rodney Hudson missed the Lions game with an ankle sprain, and the Raiders aren’t sure if he’ll be able to play against the Chargers. He practiced Friday and was active some in pre-game warmups but ultimately was rendered inactive.

“I don’t know how close he was. He gave it everything he could,” Gruden said of Hudson. “I don’t know his status for this game, either. I’ll cross my fingers. He just couldn’t push off [the injured ankle].”

Players were given Monday off, but the team had to submit an estimated participation report anyway. Nicholas Morrow showed up there with a groin injury.

Also, the Raiders formally activated cornerback Isaiah Johnson off injured reserve. Linebacker Brandon Marshall was waived in a corresponding move. The veteran was back with the team for less than a week. Fellow new linebacker Will Compton was activated over him and played defense and special teams.

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Here’s the estimated participation report submitted by the team:

Raiders practice report

Did not practice
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
DE Arden Key (foot)
LB Nicholas Morrow (groin)
CB Daryl Worley (ankle)

Limited practice
WR Dwayne Harris (ankle)
C Andre James (ankle)
RB Josh Jacobs (shoulder)
S Erik Harris (illness)
DT Johnathan Hankins (foot)

Nicholas Morrow, Tahir Whitehead used to change in Raiders' LB corps


Nicholas Morrow, Tahir Whitehead used to change in Raiders' LB corps

ALAMEDA – Brandon Marshall returned to the Raiders this week, roughly two full months after he got cut. The veteran linebacker nearly made the team back in September but fell victim to some roster math and questions about whether he still had the explosiveness required of the position.

The Raiders have turned several linebackers over since then, with the spin cycle hitting top speed following Vontaze Burfict’s season-long suspension starting in Week 4.

Marshall thought he’d get a call then. Surprisingly enough, he didn’t.

“I did think [I’d get a call],” Marshall said. “I was wondering about it, but they ended up bring in some younger guys. It’s cool. It’s their team, but they eventually did bring me back, and I’m excited about it.”

Adding Marshall now adds a different dimension to the linebacker room. While newcomer Will Compton still needs to absorb a ton, he’s a veteran and can pick things up quickly.

Marshall and Compton enter just as Justin Phillips was waived with an injury settlement and the Dakota Allen experiment was ended.

Those guys were the first replacement wave, added after Marquel Lee was placed on injured reserve and Burfict essentially was banned in an unprecedented move for an on-field action.

Nicholas Morrow and Tahir Whitehead have learned to adapt to new folks in the meeting room.

“It changes every time somebody leaves and somebody else comes in,” Morrow said. “It was obviously different before and after Vontaze’s situation. We brought in some new and younger guys, and it felt almost like we were going back to training camp. There was a lot more teaching and streamlining things.”

The Raiders were preparing backups. They have become completely reliant on Morrow and Whitehead, who have played virtually every snap since Burfict was first ejected in Week 4. Phillips played some defense against Green Bay, but he wasn’t terribly effective.

Morrow and Whitehead have formed a solid partnership on the interior, where the Raiders almost exclusively remain in two linebacker sets.

“We’ve been playing together for a while and we understand each other,” Morrow said. “I believe in Tahir and trust every call he makes. I think he believes in me, and we definitely lean on each other.”

Bringing Marshall back has eased this latest transition. While Morrow and Whitehead still will be primary contributors, the room isn’t doing as much review as before.

“I think it’s a little bit different in regards that we have a couple more veteran players in there that have played and understand concepts of coverage and those type of things rather than younger guys that haven’t really been through that, so that’s good,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “And both Brandon and Will have picked up the defense really good. Obviously, Brandon has seen it all spring and training camp, but Will has done a really good job. Both of them are smart guys.”

Marshall’s role won’t be huge in Sunday’s clash with Detroit, but his balky knee responded well to the time away from football and he hopes to get back in the mix defensively. Lee can return after Week 12 at the earliest, and having some quality depth, or at least the option to play three linebackers at once would be a luxury rarely afforded in recent games.

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Morrow says he and Whitehead are ready for anything, even continued high-volume Sundays, but certainly welcome the veteran help.

“At this point, we’re comfortable with all the change,” Morrow said. “We just move on and adapt and work our tails off and prepare as best we can.

“It’s definitely a unique situation, but this is the NFL. You have to adapt. We’ve had guys coming in and out, but it’s nice to have ‘B-Marsh’ back in the room. He’s a great asset.”

Raiders snap count: Tahir Whitehead, Nicholas Morrow being taxed

Raiders snap count: Tahir Whitehead, Nicholas Morrow being taxed

ALAMEDA – The Raiders defense couldn’t get off the field in the second half versus Houston. Scores or kneel downs were the only way drives ended from midway through the second quarter on, leaving Deshaun Watson to methodically work his way down the field to tally points.

That left an already thin linebacker corps on the field too long. And, by linebacker corps, we mean Tahir Whitehead and Nicholas Morrow. Those guys played all 83 defensive snaps during Sunday’s 27-24 loss to Houston at NRG Stadium, a massive sum that explains the negative result.

The Raiders are able to cycle defensive linemen through, using all available bodies to keep rushers as fresh as possible. That’s just not available right now, with reserve linebackers not ready for meaningful snaps at this point.

Even if the Raiders want to hold on to precious draft capital as Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline approaches, they strongly should consider adding another member to the group. Dakota Allen hasn’t played much defense, Kyle Wilber is a special teams player and practice-squad promotion Justin Phillips doesn’t seem quite ready for big moments.

Vontaze Burfict’s season-long suspension was so impactful, even just removing another component player from the position group.

The receiver rotation snapped back in place with Tyrell Williams re-joining the fray. He resumed his place as the alpha, playing almost every snap in his return to action. Zay Jones got in the act with 22 snaps, a total that will increase in the coming weeks. Hunter Renfrow remains the primary slot guy, with Trevor Davis as a supporting player who could see decreased time as Jones gets up to speed.

Trayvon Mullen started in Gareon Conley’s vacated cornerback spot Sunday, but split time with Nevin Lawson. Part of that split was medically-based, with Mullen needing intravenous fluids early in this game.

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Total offensive snaps: 56

Quarterback – Derek Carr 56

Running back – Josh Jacobs 31, Jalen Richard 17, DeAndre Washington 9, Alec Ingold 7

Wide receiver – Tyrell Williams 50, Hunter Renfrow 36, Trevor Davis 26, Zay Jones 22

Tight end – Darren Waller 54, Foster Moreau 22, Derek Carrier 6

Offensive line – Richie Incognito 56, Kolton Miller 56, Trent Brown 56, Gabe Jackson 56, Andre James 46, Rodney Hudson 9


Total defensive snaps: 83

Defensive line – Maxx Crosby 74, Johnathan Hankins 63, Clelin Ferrell 52, P.J. Hall 49, Maurice Hurst 31, Arden Key 28, Benson Mayowa 28, Josh Mauro 5

Linebacker – Nicholas Morrow 83, Tahir Whitehead 83, Kyle Wilber 3

Defensive back – Karl Joseph 83, Daryl Worley 83, Erik Harris 81, Lamarcus Joyner 77, Trayvon Mullen 62, Nevin Lawson 25, Curtis Riley 2, Keisean Nixon 1

Special teams

Wilber 26, Lawson 25, Carrier 25, Justin Phillips 21, Moreau 20, Dallin Leavitt 19, Nixon 18, Riley 15, Dwayne Harris 13, Ingold 13, Harris 12, Morrow 11, Joseph 10, A.J. Cole 10, Crosby 10, Trent Sieg 10, Daniel Carlson 9, Washington 6, Mullen 6, Key 5, Hurst 5, Hankins 5, Worley 5, Denzelle Good 4, David Sharpe 4, Whitehead 4, Incognito 4, Miller 4, Brown 4, Jackson 3, Davis 3, James 1