Raiders treading in turmoil again, turn focus to Giants
For the second time in less than a month, the Las Vegas Raiders are navigating their way through a major, off-the-field incident that could potentially derail a promising postseason run.
Winners of two straight and leading the AFC West at 5-2, the Raiders will travel to the East Coast to face the New York Giants (2-6) on Sunday.
Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was charged with felony DUI resulting in death and reckless driving on Tuesday after a fiery crash involving his Corvette resulted in the death of a 23-year-old woman, according to police.
Ruggs’ reported blood alcohol level was 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit for drivers in Nevada, and a loaded gun was found in the car.
The Raiders released Ruggs on Tuesday evening.
Last month, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned after leaked emails revealed misogynistic and homophobic comments he made a decade ago.
Las Vegas interim head coach Rich Bisaccia has the benefit of his team heading into Sunday’s contest rested after a bye week. However, Bisaccia and his players had to deal with the inevitable questions about their former teammate.
“We want to express our sincere condolences to the victim’s family,” Bisaccia said in a prepared statement. “A person lost their life yesterday morning, and we think it’s important to keep focus on that as we talk about this tragic event. We’re deeply saddened for everyone affected. Especially, the victim’s family.
“That being said, we love Henry Ruggs, and want him to know that. It was a terrible lapse in judgment, of the most horrific kind. It’s something that he’ll have to live with for the rest of his life.”
With Ruggs no longer on the roster, the Raiders will lean on receivers Hunter Renfrow and Zay Jones to help fill the void.
While the Raiders try to regroup after the tragedy, the Giants are looking to get on track after losing three of their last four games.
The Giants average just 19.5 points a contest and need an offensive spark from quarterback Daniel Jones to help against an improved Las Vegas defense, led by new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Jones has thrown for 1,949 passing yards but just seven touchdown passes this season. The Raiders have allowed just 11 touchdown passes on defense.
“It’s about finishing games, winning these close games,” Jones said, when asked about his team getting back on the winning track. “It’s making those plays down the stretch and pushing it over the edge and winning those games.”
The Giants may need to lean more on the passing game because they might be without top running back Saquon Barkley, who was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, along with safety Xavier McKinney and center Matt Skura. Barkley also is dealing with an ankle issue.
In all, the Giants had 13 positive COVID-19 tests on Tuesday. All 13 were re-tested and only running backs coach Burton Burns came back positive. Giants head coach Joe Judge did not rule out Barkley against the Raiders. The Penn State product has missed the last three games due to injury, along with receiver Kenny Golladay (knee).
–Field Level Media