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Raiders getting back critical weapon for critical matchup

After a three week power outage on the Raiders, they finally get one of their speedy offensive weapons back. Denarius Moore practiced on Wednesday and it appears he will play this weekend when the Raiders face the Lions in a crucial matchup.

The Raiders have lost the last two games partly due to the lack of some of their gamebreakers. Darren McFadden has been out for half the season and Jacoby Ford has been out for four weeks. Then rookie Taiwan Jones went out as well, leaving the Raiders bereft in the speed department.

The loss of Moore and Ford has also left Carson Palmer without two dependable sets of hands that can get behind defenses. When they were both healthy, Palmer feasted on secondaries with the long ball.

Without them, the Raiders offense has been pedestrian. They have gone scoreless in the first half of both their last two games. Darrius Heyward-Bey has speed to burn and he has been healthy. But last week he made it plainly clear that much of that speed is wasted when he dropped four passes. He caught quite a few more, but none were of the deep threat variety that we saw when Moore and Ford were both healthy.

There is still a possibility that we could see all four of these injured Raiders back this week. Ford and Taiwan Jones were both doing light work with a trainer at practice Wednesday and we will keep an eye out Thursday and Friday to see if they might play this weekend as well. McFadden was not at practice but he was expected back this week so that is also worth monitoring. I wouldn’t rule out the Raiders not putting him out for practice until Friday just to give the Lions less time to game plan for him.

As the Broncos continue to win, the Raiders’ playoff hopes get more slim. Having Moore healthy this week is a big deal. They cannot afford to lose any more games. And after the manner in which they lost the last two weeks, speed and dependability is at a premium. As if it ever isn’t, right?

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