By Ted Fleming
If you are one of the two teams in the NFL that has given up more than 400 points so far this season you look for any silver lining you can get on defense as you prepare for the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately the Oakland Raiders can only see the other color they are known for as their season begins to fade to black.
For the seventh consecutive game they will be without the services of defensive tackle Richard Seymour, their 12 year veteran out of the University of Georgia. The seven time Pro Bowl selection and three time First Team All Pro continues to battle knee and hamstring problems. The more curious question would be why the Raiders have not simply put the 33 year old on injured reserve. He was the only Raiders’ player to miss the entire week of practice.
Oakland is also likely to scratch WR Juron Criner (hip) and SS Tyvon Branch (neck/ankle) although Criner did practice this week, albeit in a limited role. Harvard alum Desmond Bryant should once again step in for Seymour while fourth year pro Mike Mitchell will take over at safety for Branch even though he has a neck issue. Criner will likely be a game time decision and if he cannot go look for Derek Hagan to see action as the backup for Darrius Heyward-Bey.
The Panthers are in much better shape than they were a week ago when four starters sat out with various ailments. RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle), LB James Anderson (back), C Geoff Hangartner (foot) and DT Dwan Edwards (wrist) all were inactive against the Chargers last weekend and it appears only Hangartner could sit against the Raiders. His spot will be taken by the versatile Jeff Byers who has appeared in a dozen games with six starts this season.
Stewart has a chance to return to return and while he is listed as questionable he managed to get on the practice field on Friday, the first time he has done that since he suffered the high ankle sprain a few weeks ago.
If Stewart can play, DeAngelo Williams will return as his backup despite coming off his best game of the season where he was seven yards short of becoming the first back with a 100 yard game this year. Only quarterback Cam Newton has reached triple digits on the ground.
The following is the injury report issued on Friday by the National Football League for the Broncos-Panthers game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sunday, November 11, 2012:
Oakland Raiders, 4-10 (** denotes starter):
** DT Richard Seymour (knee, hamstring)
** S Tyvon Branch (neck, ankle), WR Juron Criner (hip)
** CB Phillip Adams (concussion), ** T Khalif Barnes (triceps), TE Richard Gordon (biceps), S Michael Mitchell (neck)
Carolina Panthers, 5-9 (** denotes starter):
** C Geoff Hangartner (foot)
** RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle), T Garry Williams (illness)
G Thomas Austin (illness), ** T Byron Bell (illness), ** LB Thomas Davis (not injury related), ** DT Dwan Edwards (wrist), ** T Jordan Gross (not injury related), ** DE Charles Johnson (not injury related), ** WR Brandon LaFell (toe)
For Reference –
Out: there is no chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Doubtful: a 25% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Questionable: a 50% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
Probable: a 75% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.