Raiders shuffling offensive line to correct 'fixable' mistakes
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Practice summary: The Raiders continue to tinker with their first-team offensive line. They had Tony Bergstrom at left guard and Lucas Nix at right guard after pitting them against each other to start at left guard in an effort to find their best offensive line.
Injuries have complicated that prospect. So has lackluster performance.
Presumed starting left tackle Jared Veldheer and right guard Mike Brisiel are out due to injury, and replacements Alex Barron and Andre Gurode underwhelmed Friday against the New Orleans Saints.
The Raiders have been forced to mix and match throughout camp, meaning continuity is a luxury the offensive line can no longer afford.
“We have 20 days until the regular season, and we need to get better every day to be ready in time,” center Stefen Wisniewski said. “It’d be nice to have the same five guys in there, but the next guy up has to be ready. It’s August 18. We still have a little time to improve as a unit.”
The clock is ticking, and the pressure’s on to improve on a dismal performance against the Saints. Protection issues shouldn’t be blamed solely on the offensive line, but the guys up front accept responsibility for their part in it.
They watched the game tape on Sunday morning and were frustrated by what they believe are correctable mistakes done right during practice.
“We watched the game film today, and we really feel like we beat ourselves with those mistakes,” Wisniewski said. “The errors are things that we can fix. Everything’s correctable. We can be good, but we’re not quite where we need to be yet.”
McFadden limited: Running back Darren McFadden was limited in Sunday’s practice, after suffering a shoulder injury during Friday’s exhibition that curtailed his participation. Allen said the ailment offers zero cause for concern.
“Yeah, we limited him some today, but I don’t think it’s anything serious,” Allen said. “I expect him to be fine.”
Offensive play of the day: The offense ended practice on a high note. Quarterback Matt Flynn rolled right and hit receiver Rod Streater in stride, streaking into the end zone.
Defensive play of the day: Mike Jenkins made two interceptions during Sunday’s practice, including a toe-tapper near the sideline he made against Flynn. Jenkins, clearly the best corner on this roster, flattened his end zone coverage and forced a takeaway in the end zone.
Rookie report: Cornerback Chance Casey continues to put forth good practices. He still faces an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster, but he could be a practice squad candidate if he continues his solid play. He’s a good cover man with room to improve breaking up passes. … TE Mychal Rivera is clearly a quality receiver, but his inconsistency is bothersome. His run-blocking prevents him from being a candidate to start full-time.
Closing ranks: The Raiders are moving toward a regular-season schedule this week, meaning there were fewer reps for players down on the depth chart. That included rookie quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Tyler Wilson, neither of whom took a snap during team drills. Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor split snaps when the Raiders dropped third-team drills.
Closing practice: Sunday marked the final open practice until next offseason. The Raiders close practice to the press starting Monday and will break camp in Napa after practice on Wednesday.
New injuries: DT Stacy McGee, CB Chemdi Chekwa
Returning from injuries: None
Still sidelined: TE David Ausberry (shoulder), K Eddie Carmona (neck, leg), OT John Wetzel (knee), DL Brandon Bair (hamstring), CB Tracy Porter (groin), RG Mike Brisiel (knee), RB Latavius Murray, WR Juron Criner, OL Menelik Watson (calf), DT Pat Sims (hamstring), WR Jacoby Ford (knee), DT Vance Walker, LB Kaluka Maiava.
Physically unable to perform list: LB Miles Burris (knee)
Note: Generally, Allen does not comment on injury specifics during training camp.
Quote of the day: “Time isn’t on our side, but we look at our mistakes and see things that can corrected in week .” – Raiders guard Tony Bergstrom on fixing the offensive line’s issues in pass protection.