Three and Out: Smith's check downs, Hayden under the scope
Stefen Wisniewski sprained his knee against the Redskins and missed last Sunday's win over the Chargers. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
ALAMEDA – Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski missed his fifth consecutive practice on Thursday with a knee sprain, further decreasing his chance of playing Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
It’s a big blow, but the Raiders survived against the Chargers. Andre Gurode filled in admirably for Wisniewski, who was hurt himself the week before against Washington.
Gurode, a five-time Pro Bowl center in his career’s twilight, still has a few tricks up his sleeve. He transitioned well despite played left guard in previous games and should get more comfortable as reps go by.
“You go from left guard to center and there’s a little bit more responsibility going over to center,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “But, he’s played that position at a high level for a long time in this league, and he really did a good job in the game, and I think the more he plays in there the better he’s going to be. So, I would look for even more improvement out of him this week; he’s got a tough challenge, but I would look for more improvement out of him this week.”
Wisniewski was the glue that kept a battered offensive line together. He kept the front productive despite injuries at each post along each flank. Now a slow-healing unit must carry on, temporarily at least, without their leader. The line has experience at nearly every spot, which has helped keep pass protection functional.
“I’m just real proud of those guys and the way they’ve prepared and really the example that they’ve set for the rest of our guys in our room on offense because they are pros,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “I think those guys up front know what it’s going to take to play on Sunday, they know how much preparation they need during the week and they’ve been very good about that.”
Running strong(-er): Running backs Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings were limited participants for the second straight day, a strong indication that they’ll both play on Sunday against Kansas City.
“Both of them got a little bit better today, so I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen out of both of those guys today,” Allen said. “… I do like the progress that they’ve made and the signs are pointing towards that they’ll be able to play, but we’ll see.”
Limited participation: OLB Kaluka Maiava (hamstring) RB Rashad Jennings (hamstring), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), RT Tony Pashos (groin), FB Marcel Reece (knee), DT Stacy McGee (shoulder)
Did not practice: SS Tyvon Branch (ankle), C Stefen Wisniewski (knee), OT Menelik Watson (calf)
Injured reserve: TE David Ausberry (shoulder), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), K Eddie Carmona (leg), G Tony Bergstrom (foot); Designated to return: LT Jared Veldheer (triceps)
Physically unable to perform list: LB Miles Burris (knee)