The Raiders can’t keep linebackers healthy. That position group has endured an injury plague similar to what the offensive line endured a season ago -- a crippling trend for a defense in desperate need of healthy bodies.
Kaluka Maiava is the latest victim, and his fall was harsh. Maiava was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday with a hamstring injury.
The Raiders replaced him with Ray-Ray Armstrong, who was claimed off waivers from the St. Louis Rams. He’s primarily been a special teams player, but may have to play more defense with the Raiders.
Sio Moore has missed two straight games with an ankle injury and middle linebacker Nick Roach has missed all four games this year with concussion-like symptoms.
Miles Burris, Khalil Mack and Bojay Filimoeatu were the only healthy linebackers before Tuesday’s transactions. The Raiders were razor thin at linebacker against the Miami Dolphins in London, and that was before Maiava got hurt in the first quarter.
That forced Filimoeatu into action he wasn’t ready for, and the undrafted rookie struggled with increased action.
The Raiders could not continue this way, and reinforcements at linebacker were mandatory heading into Sunday’s game against San Diego. They might sign another -- depending on availability and Moore’s health -- before the week is out. Linebacker health has been a major concern throughout the year, with Roach unable to perform.
It’s had a negative impact on the run defense especially, without the ability to tackle as well in space as they would have with Moore and Roach healthy.
The Raiders signed Maiava to a three-year deal before 2013 worth a maximum of $6 million, but injuries have sapped his effectiveness. He will have played just nine games in two full seasons. He ended up on injured reserve last season as well. He is scheduled to make $1.5 million in base salary next season.