By Steve Corkran
Saturday, September 8th, 2012 at 9:45 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Wide receiver Jacoby Ford won’t play in the regular-season opener, the Raiders confirmed Saturday.
Ford hasn’t practiced since he suffered a left foot injury against the Arizona Cardinals in an exhibition game Aug. 17. Coach Dennis Allen held out hope that Ford might recover in time for the regular-season opener Monday night against the San Diego Chargers.
“We’re a little bit at a standstill with him right now,” Allen said. “We’re going to keep evaluating him and see where he’s at, but he’s obviously out this week.”
Allen said he isn’t sure whether Ford’s injured left foot, the same one he suffered last season, will require surgery.
Ford’s absence leaves the Raiders with only three receivers at 100 percent — Darrius Heyward-Bey, recently signed Derek Hagan and rookie Rod Streater. Projected starter Denarius Moore just returned from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a little more than a month, and rookie Juron Criner still is recovering from an ankle injury.
Moore returned to practice Thursday after missing more than a month. He looked sharp in practice Thursday and Friday, running hard, making sharp cuts and leaping for passes.
For now, it seems logical that Heyward-Bey and Moore will be the starters, with Streater and Hagan getting a fair amount of playing time.
– Alex Parsons worked with the first-team offense at center during the media-access window Saturday night. Wisniewski took reps with the second team.
Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said Friday that Parsons and Wisniewski are competing for the starting job at center. Allen said he still hasn’t decided which player will start Monday.
Wisniewski and Parsons also are getting reps at guard so that they are versatile enough to play either position if they aren’t the starting center and enter the game because of injury to a starter.
Wisniewski missed all of the offseason while recovering from shoulder surgery and a significant portion of training camp with as a result of a calf injury.
He said he now is at 100 percent and ready to play.
“I’m real close physically,” Wisniewski said. “I’d like to get some more reps to feel a little more comfortable but I’m ready to play at a high level.”
The Raiders concluded their on-field preparation for their season opener with a practice at the Coliseum on Saturday night.
Allen wanted his players to experience conditions similar to what they are expected to face Monday night, including things such as the feel of the playing surface and the lights.
“It was good,” Allen said. “It gave us a chance to feel what it will look like on Monday night, so everybody got something out of it.”
Running back Taiwan Jones said he and his teammates benfitted from the work on their home turf.
“It was a good thing,” Jones said. “A lot of people haven’t had the chance to practice on the dirt. They get to go out there and run around. We get a feel for what time we’re going to be out there on Monday. You can get an idea what the weather is going to be like.”
– Allen said Jones will return kicks Monday night, with Ford sidelined. Also, Phillip Adams will take over for Moore on punt returns.
“Any time coach wants to put the ball in my hands, I’m excited,” Jones said. “I’m glad to be out there.”
Jones returned kicks in high school and college, as well as eight for 165 yards last season with the Raiders.
– Criner said his ankle is getting better after extensive rehab and that he’s ready to give it a shot Monday night.
“Oh, yeah, I’m definitely fired up about it,” Criner said of his NFL debut. “Monday night game, under the big lights, I’m just ready to go out there and perform and do what’s asked of me.”
– Chargers running back Ryan Mathews has been ruled out of Monday night’s game, according to the team’s website. Mathews suffered a broken clavicle Aug. 9 against the Green Bay Packers on his first carry of the exhibition season. He began participating in individual drills last week at practice.