ALAMEDA (AP) — The Oakland Raiders are expected to be without cornerback Carlos Rogers for Sunday’s game against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
Rogers has started 55 consecutive regular-season games since 2010 but has been bothered by a sore knee this season. He has not practiced this week and is doubtful on the team’s injury report.
It’s another blow to the NFL’s 31st-ranked defense, which has been plagued by injuries and poor play. The winless Raiders have already lost three defensive starters — defensive end LaMarr Woodley, middle linebacker Nick Roach and strong safety Tyvon Branch — to season-ending injuries.
Interim coach Tony Sparano said Friday he’s holding out hope that the 33-year-old Rogers can play despite not practicing for most of the past two weeks. A 2005 first-round draft pick of the Washington Redskins, he has played in 133 games with 123 starts during his NFL career.
“That’s pretty much what I’m going on,” Sparano said. “Obviously, he hasn’t practiced all week. We’ll make a decision here and see where he is tomorrow as well. Carlos is a guy who understands. He’s a smart guy. He knows the plan and has taken plenty of reps prior to this.”
With rainy weather expected over the weekend in Seattle, Sparano said that will also factor into the decision to play Rogers. The 10th-year veteran is Oakland’s second-leading tackler in the secondary behind free safety Charles Woodson.
Sparano declined to name a possible replacement if Rogers is ruled out. Rookie TJ Carrie seems the likely choice to play at left cornerback in the base defense and has also been taking numerous reps in the slot when the Raiders go to the nickel while Neiko Thorpe comes in on the outside.
DJ Hayden, the 12th overall pick in 2013 who came off the PUP list last week, is also an option on the left side even though he’s played almost strictly at right cornerback.
Carrie, a seventh-round draft pick out of Ohio, has steadily improved since the end of training camp and has played well in spot duty this year. He has 22 tackles, one interception and a forced fumble.
The 6-foot, 205-pound Carrie, who grew up 20 miles north of Oakland, also doubles on special teams. He’s fourth in the AFC with a 9.0 average on punt returns and carries a 23.9-yard average on kickoff returns.
“I’m in a league right now where rookies aren’t considered rookies anymore,” Carrie said Friday. “When you come into this league, you’re considered a professional. If you look at it as you’re a rookie and you accept that, then you’re setting yourself up behind the curve.”
Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch will almost certainly test that theory. The Seahawks (4-3) are coming off a 13-9 win over Carolina following consecutive narrow losses to Dallas and St. Louis.
Wilson has passed for nearly 1,500 yards while Lynch is eighth overall in the NFL with 482 yards rushing.
“We know that Russell’s good with his feet, and with Marshawn we have to gang tackle,” Carrie said. “It’s going to take all 11 of us to stop the run and the pass with those two dynamic players. It’s really playing your keys ... as far as who has the quarterback, who has the running back.”
Notes: Backup safety Brandian Ross was fined $22,050 by the NFL for his hit on Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron last week. ... TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring) and CB Keith McGill (groin) are all out. DE Justin Tuck (knee) was limited in practice and is probable.