As is the norm, the Raiders on Thursday went through an abbreviated practice on the eve of a game. Here are some notes about what to look for in the exhibition game against the Arizona Cardinals.
– Wide receiver Denarius Moore (hamstring), punter Shane Lechler (knee), offensive linemen Zach Hurd (head), Ed Wang (shoulder) and Stefen Wisniewski (calf), fullback Rashawn Jackson (hip), running back Taiwan Jones (hamstring), tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder) and linebacker Aaron Curry (knee) won’t play Friday night, Allen said.
Defensive end Jack Crawford (foot) and defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie (foot) are questionable for the Cardinals game. Cumbie returned to practice Thursday.
– Coach Dennis Allen said running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are slated to play against the Cardinals. Goodson returned from a neck injury Wednesday after missing a week, including Oakland’s exhibition opener.
Goodson’s return to game action figures to cut into the playing time of first-year back Lonyae Miller, who rushed 13 times Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys.
Don’t look for McFadden to get more than a handful of touches. He rushed twice and caught one pass against the Cowboys.
– We know that recent acquisition Korey Bosworth played at UCLA and spent time with the Detroit Lions the past two seasons. Allen said he doesn’t know much more than that, either.
“I know that he spent some time in Detroit’s camp and he’s a guy that we’re bringing in for some depth at linebacker, giving him an opportunity to play some special teams Friday night and see what he can do,” Allen said.
– Carson Palmer will start Friday night, though he is expected to play more than he did in the first game, Allen said. Matt Leinart will relieve Palmer, as he did the first game, with Terrelle Pryor finishing the game.
This rotation portends Leinart being the clear-cut No. 2 and the odds-on candidate to be Palmer’s primary backup once the regular season rolls around.
– Veteran offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has sole control of the play-calling, Allen said. That doesn’t mean that Allen isn’t involved in the process.
“He calls the plays,” Allen said. “I might, situationally, have a suggestion for him, but he calls the plays and I give him full authority to call it how he sees fit.”
Knapp did likewise during his first stint with the Raiders. That is, until then-coach Tom Cable stripped Knapp of the play-calling duties in favor of handling that role himself.
Allen is a defensive-minded coach. For now, he is immersing himself in all aspects of the team and letting his assistants do their jobs.
“I try to stay involved with them as far as what they’re doing and kind of what the game plan is,” Allen said of the offensive coaches, “but as far as calling the plays on Sunday, I’m not going to get involved in that. If I want him to run it, I might have a suggestion to run it or throw it but, for the most part, I’m going to let him call the game.”
– Allen said he’s still seeking clarity from the tight end spot. Myers’ injury gives Richard Gordon and David Ausberry more opportunities to close ground on Myers, who Allen said earlier in camp is the No. 1 tight end until further notice.
“They’re all in the running to win the job,” Allen said. “Nobody’s locked that job down. Obviously, it’s hurt Brandon that he hasn’t been able to be out here with a shoulder, but I’ve been impressed with what Richard’s been able to do. He gives us a little bit better blocking presence on the edge.
“I’ll be interested to see how he comes out and plays. He was ill a little bit last week going into the game. He should be good to go this week and we’ll see how he plays.”
– Curry remains in Los Angeles receiving treatments on his sore knee. He has yet to take part in any practices since training camp started.
Even so, Allen said, it’s not too late for Curry to work his way back into the mix for the regular-season opener.
“I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility right now,” Allen said. “Obviously, every day we get closer to the beginning of the season that becomes less of a possibility. For him to be ready to go, he’s going to have to be ready here pretty soon to start getting some work.”
Allen said he expects Curry back in Napa next week at some point.
– Allen said that he is like most NFL head coaches in their belief that front-line players get their feet wet in the exhibition opener, play quite a bit more in the second game and the most in the third game.
So, plan on seeing more of the projected starters Friday night than you did Monday night.