By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, September 30th, 2011 at 1:08 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Three potential starters failed to practice for the second straight day and were listed as questionable by coach Hue Jackson following practice Friday.
Free safety Michael Huff (concussion), fullback Marcel Reece (ankle) and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder) were regarded as tossups two days before the Raiders take on the New England Patriots at O.co Coliseum.
Huff walked slowly from the field wearing a baseball camp and long-sleeved white T-shirt. He hasn’t been spotted in the locker room this week during the media window. He actually got in some practice time Wednesday, but took of Thursday and Friday.
Asked about concussions sustained by Ricky Brown (also questionable) and Huff, coach Hue Jackson said he thought both had passed necessary tests but there were “still protocol issues.”
It’s conceivable both are still experiencing symptoms such as headaches and thus haven’t been cleared.
Also listed as questionable were wide receiver/return specialist Jacoby Ford (hamstring) who has practiced all week but said Thursday he hadn’t yet run at top speed. Ford even fielded a few punts Friday.
Listed as “out” were cornerbacks Chris Johnson (hamstring) and wide receiver Louis Murphy (groin) who will miss the first quarter of the season after surgery in training camp.
Among the players listed as questionable, the Raiders can probably best absorb the loss of Shaughnessy, given the depth on the defensive line and the performance against the New York Jets by defensive end Jarvis Moss.
If Reece can’t go at fullback, it means tight end Richard Gordon will get a look in some running formations as a lead blocker and Rock Cartwright could play in some other packages. Other are options are simply going without a fullback in three wide receiver, single-back sets.
Huff’s s replacement at single deep safety is likely Matt Giordano, but the bigger problem comes in the nickel and determining who gets primary coverage responsibilities on Wes Welker, currently the NFL’s most prolific receiver.
The following players were listed as probable and will face the Patriots:
Running back Darren McFadden (shoulder/groin), quarterback Jason Campbell (foot), linebacker Quentin Groves (quadriceps), cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), safety Jerome Boyd (knee) and Giordano (shoulder). Campbell and Chekwa were limited in practice, the others participated fully.