Raiders downgrade Michael Crabtree to doubtful

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As the Raiders try to reverse an ugly performance on national TV by taking down a division rival in their own building, Oakland may not have one of the most important players.

On Saturday night, the Raiders downgraded receiver Michael Crabtree from questionable to doubtful with a chest injury.

Before 2016, the term “doubtful” meant that the player had a 25-percent chance of playing; few carrying that designation ever actually played. Changes to the rules from last year expanded the range of doubtful from, essentially, 49.9 percent down to 0.1 percent.

It’s surprising that more players aren’t listed as doubtful under the new rules, and that more doubtful players don’t end up playing. Crabtree will be the latest test of that revised designation on Sunday in Denver.

If Crabtree doesn’t player, receivers like Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Johnny Holton will get more opportunities. But with Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., and Bradley Roby in position to lock down whoever lines up wide or in the slot for the Raiders, it may not matter.

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