Injuries Destroyed Oakland's 2012 Season
By Bess Shapiro
The less-than-stellar performance of the Oakland Raiders in 2012 can’t be blamed exclusively on injuries, but there is no question that if most of Oakland’s starters had been healthy throughout the season they might have pulled out some more wins.
In preseason, defensive tackle Richard Seymour was out with bad knees, wide receiver Denarius Moore was out with a hamstring and explosive WR Jacoby Ford an ankle.
The slaughter continued into the regular season. Star running back Darren McFadden missed four straight games with a high ankle sprain as did RB Mike Goodson. Seymour, considered the anchor of the defense, missed seven straight games with a hamstring.
McFadden had the most rushing yards for Oakland in the 2012 season, but he continues to be injury prone. Because he his so brittle, Oakland must have a solid backup RB behind Run DMC. Goodson, when he, himself, is not injured, doesn’t fit the bill.
In Week 1 against the San Diego Chargers both Moore and Ford were inactive. They were also missing two starting offensive guards and an offensive tackle. Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, Seymour, starting safety Michael Huff, and McFadden all played, but played hurt. Ford was eventually put on season-ending injured reserve.
Oakland managed to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3, despite being short starting right OT Khalif Barnes and starting cornerbacks Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell.
Entering Week 13, the Raiders had seven players out with either a head injury or a concussion, more than any other team besides the Kansas City Chiefs. Cornerback Philip Adams had to leave the game against the Cleveland Browns. Safeties Mike Mitchell and Matt Giordano both left the game with head injuries.
Despite a mostly losing effort, younger, less experienced players did step up. With McFadden out for four games, Marcel Reece stepped up with 48 rushing yards against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 10, 103 yards against the New Orleans Saints in Week 11 and 74 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12.
Rookie Rod Streater piled up 100 receiving yards against the Denver Broncos, 77 yards against San Diego, and 62 yards against the Chiefs — one of the Raiders four wins. Denarius Moore had 90 receiving yards against the Ravens. Tight end Brandon Myers was a go-to guy with 86 receiving yards against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 and 130 yards against the Browns.
With some good looking rookies, the Raiders should develop some depth to account for injuries next season.