There’s still three full days of recovery to go, but one of the Raiders biggest concerns heading in to Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans will be if they’ll be healthy enough to keep running back Arian Foster and their cutback running system under control.
Although John Henderson suited up and went out to practice Wednesday, he spent the end of the warm-up and drill portion of practice being worked on by trainers and was officially listed as not having practiced.
Henderson didn’t practice at all last week, and foot injuries become more of an issue when supporting some 335-plus pounds.
Also not practicing was defensive tackle Richard Seymour, which was no surprise given his admission Monday that he was affected by his hamstring pull against Arizona and was lacking explosion and power.
Seymour talked openly of trying to determine the best course of action _ weighing the help he can give against the risk of making it worse and having a condition which could limit him for the entire season.
It appears the best-case scenario would be to have Henderson and Seymour play at less than 100 percent against a team which desperately needs defensive tackles to both hold their ground and break through a zone blocking chain which will look to get Foster free on the backside.
Or perhaps one or the other doesn’t play, meaning more work for Tommy Kelly, Desmond Bryant and Jay Alford.
At worst, both Henderson and Seymour are unavailable or can’t finish the game against an offensive system which tends to be at its best late in the game with the lead when the defense is tiring.
More news, notes and quotes following coach Tom Cable’s post-practice briefing:
— Cable has coached zone blocking teams since working at Atlanta with Alex Gibbs, and talked about the best way for a defense to deal with it.
“They’re able to distort it. If they let it get moving, think of pulling on one end of the rope, and it all moves in the same direction,’’ Cable said. “If we allow that to happen it gets going on you, and they’ve done that a few times this year already. What you have to do is disrupt or distort that rope, make it uneven, if you will, and if you can do that, you take away those seams and those run lanes.’’
— A long injury list which Cable said for the most part was not overly serious.
Those who did not practice were WR Chaz Schilens (knee), LG Robert Gallery (hamstring), LB Travis Goethel (lower back), Henderson (foot), Seymour (hamstring), S Hiram Eugene (hamstring), CB Chris Johnson (ankle), CB Walter McFadden (hamstring) and WR Louis Murphy (clavicle).
Players listed as limited were G Cooper Carlisle (undisclosed), RG Langston Walker (elbow), CB Jeremy Ware (undisclosed) and TE Zach Miller (undisclosed).
Cable said Schilens “is making good progress. I’d say in the last five or six days, it’s been very positive.’’
— Alex Joseph, a first-year linebacker out of Temple, was added to the practice squad. He takes the place of Stevie Brown, who was promoted to the 53-man roster for the second time in two weeks prior to the Arizona game and may actually stay there awhile this time.
— Cable doesn’t seem overly concerned about a Raiders red zone defense which has given up touchdowns seven times in eight possessions.
Arizona did very little offensively against the Raiders but was 2-for-2 in close, making it look easy both times.
“We’ve been very productive and for three years we’ve been one of the very best red-zone defenses in football,’’ Cable said.“The other day, it was the simple fact of looking up a receiver in zone at a linebacker spot. Just a very fundamental thing down there.’’
— Cable was predictably (and wisely) tight-lipped when asked if more duty for Michael Bush would mean more use of Darren McFadden as a receiver.
McFadden has 73 rushes and 10 receptions through three games, with Bush playing only a small role in Week 3.
“You never know,’’ Cable said.
— Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson said by conference call he expected to play against the Raiders (he has a high ankle sprain) and is aware Nnamdi Asomugha shadowed and shut down Larry Fitzgerald against Arizona.
“He’s a great player, arguably the best cornerback in the game,’’ Johnson said. “He doesn’t really have many balls thrown his way. It’s not shocking to see that.’’
Johnson said Asomugha hasn’t shadowed him in the past.
When the Raiders beat the Texas 27-16 in Week 16, Johnson came in with 103 receptions for 1,408 yards and didn’t catch a pass until well into the second half.
Johnson got some coverage from Asomugha that day, and quite a bit from Chris Johnson, who missed last week’s game with an ankle injury and is now the nickel back when healthy instead of the starter.
— Former Raiders showing up elsewhere _ the Carolina Panthers signed guard-center Chris Morris. The Seattle Seahawks added Slade Norris to the practice squad.