OAKLAND -- The Raiders will be without running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson and defensive tackle Richard Seymour for the third straight game.
All three missed practice Friday before being declared out for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"They made progress this week," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said, "but they're not ready to go yet."
That means regular fullback Marcel Reece will start at running back for the third straight game, with second-year player Taiwan Jones and rookie Jeremy Stewart the backups once again.
Reece is fresh from a game in which he amassed 193 yards rushing and receiving. He said he's just trying to hold down the fort until the other backs return.
"We have so many playmakers on this team that no one's that guy," Reece said. "Darren McFadden's the bell cow for this team and will be the bell cow for this team. Right now we're kind of playing running back by committee. When it really comes down to it, you're just trying to make plays the way you're supposed to make plays."
On a positive note, Goodson said he's finally out of the protective boot that he spent more than two weeks in while recovering from a high ankle sprain. He and McFadden both got hurt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 4.
Goodson said he's disappointed that he missed out on the opportunity to be the lead back.
"You see McFadden go down, and I was the next guy in line," Goodson said. "You kind of want to get out there and show everybody what you can do, and then I go down. The exact same injury (as McFadden), the exact same game."
Goodson said he is making progress, though he doesn't have a time frame for his return.
Desmond Bryant will start in place of Seymour (hamstring).
Allen said part of the paltry sack total owes to the Raiders lacking a speed-rusher like Smith. Another factor is the inconsistency of the linebackers and defensive backs in pass coverage.
"We've got to do a better job of winning our one-on-ones, whether that be in coverage or whether that be in the rush," Allen said. "Those things work together. It really comes down to individual battles, and we've got to win more individual battles."
Defensive lineman Dave Tollefson said the sacks will come as long as he and his defensive mates keep working hard and play within the context of the scheme.
"I played on (New York Giants) teams that got a load of sacks, and it was a group effort," Tollefson said. "You got to keep pounding that rock. You got to just keep working, keep working and that wall will break down."
Given that, the Raiders are the most lopsided offense through 10 games, with 66.1 percent of their plays being passes.
By comparison, the Houston Texans and 49ers are the most-balanced teams in the league, right about 50 percent pass and 50 percent run.
Allen said it's "extremely important" for the Raiders to have a balanced offensive attack.
"When you throw the football that many times, eventually bad things happen," Allen said. "We have to have balance, we have to be able to run the football, we have to make teams play us honestly."
However, being balanced doesn't always equate to success. The Washington Redskins (5-6) and Kansas City Chiefs (1-9) are the third- and fourth-most balanced teams.
Palmer was the Bengals' first-round draft pick in 2003 (No. 1 overall). He spent his rookie season learning under Jon Kitna and didn't play. He assumed the starting spot in 2004.
The Raiders traded a 2012 first-round pick and a 2013 second-rounder to get Palmer from the Bengals last midseason. Sunday marks Palmer's first game against his former team.
For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders.
Raiders (3-7) at Bengals (5-5), 10 a.m. CBS