Programming note: Raiders head coach Tony Sparano and quarterback Derek Carr will address the media today at 4:50 p.m. Watch the live stream right here.
ALAMEDA -- Middle linebacker Nick Roach played every snap for the Raiders last season. He won’t play any this year.
The team placed Roach on season-ending injured reserve on Wednesday due to concussion-like symptoms that won’t go away.
He was originally concussed in an Aug. 22 preseason game against the Green Bay Packers and never fully recovered.
He returned to practice on Sept. 3 in a role limited almost exclusively to individual drills. He was never a major part of team periods and never experienced an upgrade in his status. Roach continued to get headaches during physical exertion and was therefore never formally cleared to play despite being questionable on each game’s injury report.
His condition remained static during the regular season’s first four weeks, and it became increasingly likely that Roach would end up on injured reserve.
The Raiders sorely missed him during an 0-4 start that ultimately cost head coach Dennis Allen his job. The run defense was particularly poor, ranked No. 31 in the NFL, due in part to the absence of their on-field leader.
Roach is a cerebral player who excelled at reading offenses and getting players lined up properly. He was also decent tackling in space, something that’s been lacking from the linebacker corps as currently constructed.
The Raiders didn’t have a true backup for Roach, and thrust Miles Burris into the role after playing him on the weakside throughout the offseason and training camp. He’s filled in admirably, but Roach’s void has been tough to fill.
Exactly how long they’ll have to fill it remains in question. Roach is signed through the 2016 season and is scheduled to make $2.8 million and $2.95 million, respectively, in the next two seasons. When a concussion is deemed season ending, there is always a question how it will impact the rest of his career.
The Raiders signed fifth-year linebacker Jamar Chaney in a corresponding move. He played for Philadelphia from 2010-12, Atlanta in 2013 and spent the 2014 preseason with Denver before getting cut.
Chaney hasn’t played regularly since 2011, when he made every start for Philadelphia. He has experience playing middle linebacker, thought Burris should remain at that post for the foreseeable future. It’s tough to learn a new scheme at that position and be ready to execute its demands at an NFL level.