The Oakland Raiders have essentially taken themselves out of the playoff hunt with their recent three-game skid heading into Week 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Although the prospect of them making the postseason is extremely far-fetched at this point, it is still a crucial time for this team in the 2019 NFL season. After all, this will be the final home game that is played in Oakland before they relocate to Las Vegas next year.
There is no question that the Raiders would love nothing more than to give their fans something to cheer about by ending things on a high note. Unfortunately, this may be difficult to do without running back Josh Jacobs and right tackle Trent Brown.
As a result, it appears head coach Jon Gruden is still holding out hope for their return, via Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area Newspaper Group:
“We’re going to try and win this game,” Gruden said. “We’re never going to put a guy out there that can’t play, but we’re going into the last game in the history of the Oakland Raiders and it’s an emotional time and we’re not eliminated from the playoffs. We’re going to try and win every single time we strap it on.”
It is safe to say that Gruden has a difficult decision to make. While it is clear that going out with a bang in Oakland is important to him, it seems he is still pondering the risks involved with having them potentially play through injury.
Jacobs has been dealing with a lingering shoulder injury that finally put him out of commission in the 42-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 14. There is no question that his absence left a rather notable void in the offense as they struggled to get a consistent run game going.
Meanwhile, Brown was also sidelined versus Tennessee with a pectoral injury. The Raiders made quite the investment to bring him in prior to the 2019 campaign and the last thing they need is for him to further aggravate the injury going into the offseason.
Unfortunately, being without two of their best players on offense raises plenty of concern about Oakland’s ability to defend the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum one last time. This could be why Gruden is still hesitant to rule them out for the rest of the year.
Regardless, it seems the Raiders may have to weigh prioritize their long-term future over the prospect of immediate success.
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