The Oakland Raiders have lots to celebrate about after a convincing Week 1 win against the Denver Broncos on Monday night. However, there are some lingering concerns after their first game of the 2019 NFL season.
Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley suffered an apparent heck/neck injury and was carted off the field in the third quarter.
Conley’s injury occurred when both he and rookie safety Johnathan Abram tried to tackle Broncos running back Royce Freeman near the sidelines. Conley, who was already on the ground after his attempted tackle, was struck in the head inadvertently by Abram’s leg. To add insult to injury, Abram was flagged for using his head on the tackle.
It quickly became apparent that the injury to Conley was serious when he was not moving on the ground and was forced to be carried out on a stretcher. Thankfully, he gave a thumbs up to the Oakland Coliseum crowd as he was being carried off the field.
Despite the concerning scene as Conley was carted off by medical staff, it seems that his initial reports that head coach Jon Gruden learned of after the game are positive, via Scott Blair of NBC Sports Bay Area:
Gruden got word that Gareon Conley is okay. The reports he has received at this point have been positive.
— Scott Bair (@BairNBCS) September 10, 2019
Although that news is certainly relieving, head and neck injuries are always worrisome. It would not be surprising for Conley to be out for at least one game if there is any type of neck injury or a concussion.
If Conley does end up sitting out next week’s matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, expect rookie Trayvon Mullen to start in his place. Mullen was selected by the Raiders in the second round out of Clemson and he did end up seeing some time against the Broncos, notching one combined tackle.
Before his injury, Conley was having a solid game. He ended up finishing with four total tackles, including two solo. Abram ended up finishing with five total tackles and one solo.
In general, the Raiders defense played very well, limiting Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco to only 8.6 yards per pass attempt and one touchdown. Additionally, defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Benson Mayowa combined for three sacks.
The Raiders also essentially shut down the Broncos run game. Despite being one of last year’s many sensational rookies, Phillip Lindsay was held to 43 yards on 11 attempts.
Conley is playing in his third season with the Raiders after being drafted 24th overall in 2017 out of Ohio State. Last year was his breakout year, recording three interceptions and 24 solo tackles and the hope was that he would continue to build off that this season, although this injury obvious complicates things.
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