The Las Vegas Raiders are facing a “win-and-you’re-in-the-playoffs” situation this week against the Los Angeles Chargers, and Derek Carr is expected to get back one of his most important offensive weapons. During Monday’s press conference, Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia said that they are anticipating getting tight end Darren waller back this week.
Waller is coming off of injuries along with a stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Bisaccia said that Waller has a “cardiac workup” process to go through and that he will have to work to get back into game shape this week, but it sounds like his return to the field will come this Sunday night.
Waller has missed the last five games for the Raiders due to back and knee injuries along with COVID-19. His last action came on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys. In the 36-33 overtime win, Waller suffered a strained IT band in his knee according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. This was relatively good news at the time, but was still an issue that forced him to miss games.
The Raiders have gone 3-2 since Thanksgiving without Waller, with all three wins coming in the last three weeks. Zay Jones and tight end Foster Moreau have worked to pick up the slack in the passing game, but Waller is the type of weapon you can build a game plan around. In the Raiders’ incredible Week 1 comeback against the Baltimore Ravens, he caught 10 of 19 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown. Depending on how he looks on the practice field this week, Waller could be in line for a large target share in this important divisional showdown.