A host of Las Vegas Raiders landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week ahead of Sunday’s matchup against division rival Kansas City.
With 10 of the 11 Raiders players currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list residing on the defensive side of the ball, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther lamented facing a high-powered Chiefs team without the full unit being able to practice.
“I don’t know how we can beat these guys with a full lineup at practice, let alone three-fourths of your lineup not here all week,” Guenther said, via ESPN. “What don’t they have? We’re playing the world champs. What don’t they have? They have a great quarterback, great receivers, great tight ends, line is physical. And they’re coming off a bye, so it’s a daunting task.”
We should read a heaping of motivation gravy onto the woe-is-us mashed potatoes Guenther is scooping. Coaches live to play the “everything is against us” card. Guenther is surely going to use the lack of full practice time to motivate his defenders to face Patrick Mahomes & Co. on Sunday.
Missing a boatload of starters who either tested positive for COVID-19 or must self-isolate due to being close contacts does put the Raiders in a precarious position. Those in self-isolation as close contacts could be eligible to play Sunday if they test negative.
The Raiders overcame their offensive line having to isolate earlier in the season.
“Well, it’s a little bit different,” Guenther said. “The offense had one position group that was kind of decimated for the week. We have guys at all three levels of our defense that aren’t here and practicing and in the meetings where you can look them in the eye. Or you can take him through things on the practice field, little tweaks or whatever it may be that this team does.”
Added Guenther: “I know one thing, we’re going to show up at 5:20 [Pacific time] and we’re going to give 100 percent, because that’s what we do. We’ll get these guys ready to play. Whoever is out there at 5:20, they’ll be ready to go.”
Last meeting against the Chiefs, Guenther’s crew held Mahomes to a career-low 51.2 completion percentage, with the Chiefs QB missing some open throws deep. Sunday, they’ll attempt to recapture that magic despite not being together on the practice field this week.
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