The Raiders’ 2012 season got off to a bad start. They found out this week that receiver Jacoby Ford is out for a significant period of time after undergoing surgery to repair the injured Lisfranc joint in his left foot. While head coach Dennis Allen was unsure when he’d return from injured reserve, it’s safe to say he’s gone for a minimum of two months.
A reporter at practice asked about an ESPN report on an injury to cornerback Ron Bartell, and Allen confirmed he fractured his shoulder blade. Then Allen informed us that after long snapper Jon Condo was diagnosed with a concussion, it was painfully obvious they needed a suitable replacement. Travis Goethel who substituted for Condo after the injury, hadn’t snapped a football since high school, so the Raiders signed rookie Nick Guess, formerly with the Chargers, to the practice squad. Guess attended college at Tennessee and found out about Condo’s injury after receiving some texts. He had DVR’d the Monday Night game and watched it again to see the snaps.
Guess has been snapping footballs since he learned it from his father at the age of 10. And it’s a harder skill than people think.
“There’s so much time that goes into making everything that perfect rep so you get that perfect punt off every time,” Guess said. “It’s tough to snap the ball and then make the block and get the right guy.”
In addition to Guess, five others are trying out for the job: Kyle Nelson of New Mexico State, Bryce Davis of Central Oklahoma, Ryan Pontbriand of Rice, Ryan Senser of Idaho and Travis Tripucka of Massachusetts.
Other additions to the practice squad include defensive end Brandon Bair and cornerback Coye Francies, who was released from the 53-man roster last week. Released from the practice squad were defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga, wide receiver Brandon Carswell and linebacker Nathan Stupar.
Receiver Denarius Moore did not play in the home opener because Coach Allen has 15 more games on the schedule. He was limited in practice as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury. Barring any major setback, he will play in Miami on Sunday.
Besides Ford and Condo, Taiwan Jones did not practice. He has sore ribs and is day-to-day. Linebacker Rolando McClain has an ankle injury and the team will evaluate to see if he can practice on Thursday.
The missing players are going to be a challenge for the Raiders. But if that wasn’t enough, the team has to contend with an East Coast start, which means a 10 a.m. kickoff as far as the players’ body clocks are concerned. Miami is still enjoying it’s summer weather, which means it’ll be very hot and humid. And on top of that, Miami is a hopping town with plenty of nightlife. Let’s hope the players observe their curfew and haven’t spent all their energy partying the night before the game.
Quarterback Carson Palmer fielded questions regarding the team’s lack of offense. Without Ford and Moore, the Raiders are limited at wide receiver. Darrius Heyward-Bey only caught three passes for 43 yards in Monday’s loss. Rookie wideout Rod Streater showed some promise, but he made a glaring mistake when he tried to fight for extra yardage when he already had the first down causing a turnover. The receiving corps is untested and very young.
The Raiders have Thursday and Friday practices remaining to get in game shape to take on the Dolphins and hopefully come away with that first win.
“It’s the most important thing right now. It’s all we’re focused on,” Palmer said. “To lose a game the only way you get any satisfaction back from the week before is by a win. You forget about the week before and you move onto the next one. This team is solely focused on getting a win in Miami.”
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.