The Las Vegas Raiders can’t take a break this season. The team has lost two ugly games in a row and is now losing a key player for the season. Full-back Alec Ingold had to leave Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to an injury. He had to be carted into the locker room and was quickly disfellowshipped.
The Raiders’ worst fears came true when an MRI confirmed he had torn a cruciate ligament, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
The silver lining is that the tear has been isolated and there is no other ligament damage. While its 2021 season is over, Pelissero has determined that it will be ready for 2022. Although full-backs have gone out of style in the NFL, Ingold has become a very important player for the Raiders. He was named team captain earlier in the season and has caught 10 passes for 85 yards this season. Las Vegas uses its fullback in many packages and Ingold is one of the best in the league. Now the team has to look for a replacement.
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Ingold’s injury wasn’t the only one inflicted on the Raiders’ backcourt. Backup running back Jalen Richard also left the game prematurely and did not return. According to The Athletic’s Tashan Reed, Richard broke his ribs and had to be hospitalized.
While this is an incredibly painful injury, it shouldn’t be as severe as Ingold’s. Richard will likely be absent for several weeks but should return before the end of the season. This is an unfortunate development for the running back as he missed the first four games of the season due to a pre-season foot injury. Richard doesn’t do much in the running game, but he’s the team’s best blocker in position and really good at passing. Prior to that season, he only missed three games in five years. He could more than double that this season.
The Raiders running game has been a disaster this season and this injury news for Richard and Ingold will only make matters worse. The team has covered just 765 yards in nine games, placing it 28th in the NFL. Las Vegas has a Pro Bowl in Josh Jacobs and an expensive veteran in Kenyan Drake. There’s no reason the running game should be this bad.
The offensive line doesn’t help much. Often the running backs have no holes to go through. Jacobs is a good runner of football, but he gets no help and the Raiders give up early in the games. The team ranks 27th in rush attempts this season. The raiders have to balance the offense better, otherwise they keep losing. Ingold and Richard’s losses will only make it harder to get the running game going. Regardless, if offensive coordinator Greg Olson doesn’t figure out how to play the ball more effectively, the Raiders will end the season early.
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