By Danny Cox
This was not a good week for the Oakland Raiders as a number of players sat out the majority of practice. Sadly, that happened after a bye week and it just doesn’t spell good news for a team that is looking to break a decade-long streak of losses coming off of a bye.
For the majority of the week, there were a large number of defensive players sitting on the sidelines, but let’s look at the offense first.
Offensively, the Raiders are quite healthy except for the offensive line, and that’s a big-time problem. The injuries are on the offensive line and it could lead to a rookie starting at right tackle.
Right tackle Tony Pashos is dealing with a hip injury that just isn’t healing quickly. He was out for practices throughout this past week and that means the extra rest with the bye was not enough to get him healthy. Expect rookie Mike McCants at starting right tackle this week.
McCants will need to play well too, because back-up left tackle Menelik Watson won’t be out there as he has a calf problem that will keep him out.
The Raiders were really hoping to get center Stefen Wisniewski back this week, and by all accounts, he should be out there. He practiced on a limited basis all week, but has made enough of a recovery to play against the Steelers and the Raiders will definitely need him. Their offensive line is going to be weak and his presence will help considerably.
The return of Wisniewski would mean that Andre Gurode could move out of the center position and back to his more comfortable spot of offensive guard. The only problem is that Gurode is dealing with a quad strain and may not even end up being able to play at all against Pittsburgh.
Cornerback Tracy Porter has had a shoulder issue, but he was out at practice this week in full capacity. Porter will be on the field for the Raiders without question.
It is good news that Porter will be playing because it is doubtful that strong safety Tyvon Branch will be able to play due to a bum ankle. He missed practice the majority of the week and it looks as if Brandian Ross could step up to start on Sunday.
Luckily for the Raiders, linebacker Kaluka Maiava’s hamstring injury healed enough for him to practice fully from Thursday on. The back-up will be ready for action against the Steelers.
- T Tony Pashos – Hip
- S Tyvon Branch – Ankle
- OG Andre Gurode – Quadriceps
- CB Tracy Porter – Shoulder
- C Stefen Wisniewski – Knee
- LB Kaluka Maiava – Hamstring
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.