About the only way the bye weekend could get any better for the Raiders is if Nnamdi Asomugha and Zach Miller show up for work Monday morning ready to run wind sprints.
The Kansas City Chiefs had a start in Denver similar to the one the Broncos had against the Raiders and fell 49-29, giving both teams 5-4 records but Oakland having a commanding lead in terms of their division record at 3-0 (the Chiefs are 1-2) should the two teams end the season tied for first place.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland’s next opponent, got worked over by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 39-26. The Raiders have nothing approximating Brady at quarterback, but the Steelers looked vulnerable in that their offensive line is in shambles, wide receiver Hines Ward (neck) and linebacker Lawrence Timmons (hip) left with injuries of undetermined severity and linebacker James Harrison and safety Troy Polamalu were curiously absent in terms of playmaking.
The Miami Dolphins, the Raiders opponent when they return home Nov. 28, scored a remarkable 29-17 win over Tennessee but finished the game with starting quarterback Chad Pennington out with a shoulder injury that could end his career and with Chad Henne on crutches. Miami finished the game with Tyler Thigpen, a former Chiefs castoff, at quarterback. The Dolphins started Pennington in front of Henne for the first time this season Sunday.
The Raiders scheduled player availability for 11:30 a.m. Monday, with coach Tom Cable’s press briefing at 2 p.m.
The status of Asomugha (ankle) and Miller (arch) probably won’t be any more clear regarding the Steelers game until Wednesday. Oakland is also hoping to get defensive tackle John Henderson (stress fracture) and wide receiver Chaz Schilens (knee) on to the practice field, but chances are that both have missed so much time that they wouldn’t be ready to play right away.