Raiders still searching for additional safety help with Karl Joseph’s injury

Raiders (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Raiders (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Raiders are continuing to work out defensive backs as they look to reload their secondary following recent injuries to Karl Joseph and Lamarcus Joyner.

The Oakland Raiders are coming off an exhilarating 26-24 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night and riding a wave of momentum into Week 11.

Not only was that game a huge divisional win that could have helped their standing in the AFC West, but it pushed them one step closer to playoff contention for the first time since the 2016 season.

In essence, 5-4 is a heck of a lot better than 4-5.

Unfortunately, the Raiders suffered a couple of key injuries on the final drive of the game to defensive backs Karl Joseph and Lamarcus Joyner. Joseph was injured making a game-sealing interception while Joyner went down just three plays prior.

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While Joyner’s isn’t too severe and he may only be forced to miss a game or two, Joseph’s injury has officially ended his season as the Raiders officially placed him on the injured reserve this past Saturday.

This comes at an awful time too as Joseph had been playing the best football of his career and was fresh off two consecutive games in which he had made the game-clinching play. But alas his season is over.

Former CFL star Erik Harris starred on Thursday hauling in two interceptions (nearly a third) while starting alongside Joseph. But with the West Virginia product out for the remainder of the season, the Raiders’ options at safety are thin.

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First-round rookie Johnathan Abram suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 1 ending his rookie year before it could ever really get started. And Joyner likely would have been the next man up to move to safety, but his injury will prevent him from doing so.

Veteran Curtis Riley remains an option but the former New York Giants safety saw his fair share of defensive snaps earlier in the year before being passed up by Harris and relegated to a special teams role.

Fortunately, the Raiders did make the move to sign veteran D.J. Swearinger on Saturday once Joseph was placed on the injured reserve but it appears that the team might not be done yet.

On Monday it was reported that the Raiders had worked out former Seattle Seahawks defensive back DeShawn Shead. Shead was a member of Seattle during the “Legion of Boom” days and has experience playing both cornerback and safety.

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And out of the available options on the market — outside of maybe Eric Berry — he likely has some of the most starting experience. On top of that, his versatility should make him very appealing.

But Shead wasn’t the only safety that the team worked out. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Raiders also worked out former Cleveland Browns safety Jermaine Whitehead on Monday as well.

Whitehead’s name has been in the news lately as the former undrafted free agent was recently released following what has been described as a “Twitter meltdown.” The Raiders haven’t been ones to shy away from players with off-field problems and Whitehead could be a beneficiary of such.

The only other safety on the active roster is special teamer Dallin Leavitt who has played exclusively special teams snaps in his eight games with the team.

The Raiders could certainly benefit from the addition of another safety option and we might just see the team add one before Sunday — especially if Joyner is unable to play.

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And if they do make a signing, expect either Shead or Whitehead to be the player that gets the call.