The Las Vegas Raiders have been one of the best teams in the NFL in regards to COVID-19 protocols. They have yet to have significant issues regarding the virus this season but some problems are starting to creep in. Long snapper Trent Sieg was put on the Reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the week, putting his status against the Washington Football Team on Sunday in jeopardy.
It’s now looking likely that he won’t play as the Raiders have already brought in a replacement. The team announced on Wednesday that they’ve signed veteran long snapper Carson Tinker.
Tinker spent some time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the season before getting cut last week. His longest stint was with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he spent five seasons as their long snapper. Notably, Tinker played at Alabama where he was part of three national championship teams. He was a teammate of Raiders running back Kenyan Drake during the 2012 college season. The team was fortunate to find a long snapper with the experience that Tinker has. If Sieg does miss Sunday’s game, he shouldn’t be out for much longer after that so this should only be a temporary replacement.
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Sieg Just Recently Received Praise From Daniel Carlson
If the Raiders have to go a game without Sieg, that would be less than ideal. The team has formed a strong special teams trio in kicker Daniel Carlson , punter A.J. Cole and Sieg. Tinker is experienced but he doesn’t have the years of chemistry with Cole and Carlson that Sieg has.
Teams aren’t always fortunate to have a trio on special teams that’s as good as what the Raiders got. Fresh off of his game-winning kick against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Carlson made sure to praise Sieg.
“Trent’s job is to go unnoticed, so he does a great job of that,” Carlson said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic . “He has just done such a great job of putting the ball exactly where it needs to be, and his blocking is also something that is difficult and that he is extremely good at.”
Can Raiders Build Momentum?
The special teams essentially saved the Raiders against the Cowboys. Carlson made five field goals, including one that sent the team to overtime and another one to win a game. Cole averaged 48.6 yards a punt and landed four of them inside the 20-yard line. If the special teams didn’t come to play, the Raiders would’ve lost.
The team can’t rely on special teams too much going forward but the win against the Cowboys could be a huge momentum swing. Things were looking dour for the Raiders after a three-game losing streak but the AFC is still wide open. This team has had trouble towards the back half of seasons and how this season ends could dictate the future of the franchise. They have a winnable game against Washington on Sunday and it’ll be a great chance to get a bit of a winning streak going.