The majority of the Raiders defense is now off the COVID-19/reserve list.
As if facing the Kansas City Chiefs offense wasn’t tough enough, the Raiders were on track to do so without a large portion of their defense. All of this started with defensive end Clelin Ferrell tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. Of his close contacts, many were his own defensive teammates, forcing them out of action as well.
Per ESPN, “Safety Johnathan Abram, defensive tackles Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins and Kendal Vickers, defensive end Arden Key and cornerback Isaiah Johnson were considered high-risk close contacts to Ferrell.”
The Raiders defense should be near full strength by Sunday night
Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther sounded genuinely scared at the prospect of facing the Chiefs with his defense missing so many key parts.
“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 Thursday. “I know one thing, we’re going to show up at 5:20 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.”
That’s a fair proposition, as the Raiders defense already has their hands full with Patrick Mahomes in what amounts to a revenge game for Kansas City. Add in an angry Andy Reid, who’s unhappy about how Jon Gruden boasted on the field in the wake of the Chiefs’ first loss of the season, and the Raiders need to play to their best ability to have any chance.