It’s been a tough week for the Oakland Raiders despite a huge win on the road against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
It was believed that linebacker Ben Heeney and tight end Lee Smith were set to go on injured reserve with an ankle and leg injury, respectively. On Tuesday, Heeney was officially placed on IR and replaced with newly signed LB Perry Riley, Jr.
On Wednesday, the Raiders announced that Smith was joining Heeney on IR. Smith was injured after being tackled on Sunday.
Tight end Ryan O’Malley was promoted from the practice squad and signed to the active roster.
Smith joined the Raiders last season after four years in Buffalo and quickly became a key piece to the offense. The 28-year-old is the primary blocking TE and one of the toughest players on the team. Smith did add six catches for 29 yards in four games this year.
Offensive tackle Donald Penn talked about the loss of the veteran TE via Jimmy Durkin of The Mercury News:
“It’s going to be big,” left tackle Donald Penn said of losing Smith. “Next guy up. That’s the Raider the mentality and shoot, that’s the NFL mentality. Next man up. Smitty’s going to be a big, big loss. He’s a big locker room guy, a big leader on the field. It’s going to be a tough spot to make up.”
While Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera can provide a boost in the passing game, none were the blocking force that Smith was. The Raiders rank fifth in total rushing yards and second in yards per rush attempt this season.
O’Malley was an undrafted free agent out of Penn. He caught 20 passes as a senior and was second-team All-Ivy League in his junior and senior seasons.
The Raiders have overcome a few injuries to their offensive line already this season and they’ll need to do so again to keep up their success.