By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, September 17th, 2012 at 8:44 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The aftermath of a 35-13 road loss to the Miami Dolphins included news of the possible loss of two more starters and a team film session that served as a lesson in accountability.
Cornerback Shawntae Spencer and right tackle Khalif Barnes could be out of the upcoming Pittsburgh game and beyond, Spencer with a right foot sprain and Barnes with a groin injury.
“Those are two guys who could miss some time,’’ Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Monday at his weekly press briefing.
Spencer, who was injured in the fourth quarter, was spotted on crutches and wearing a protective boot on his right foot. Asked how long he could be out, Spencer said, “We’ll see tomorrow.’’
If Spencer can’t play, the Raiders will have lost each of their starting cornerbacks before the third game of the season. Ron Bartell, the other starter is on the short-term injured reserve list with a broken shoulder blade and can’t return until late October.
The Raiders finished the game with Pat Lee and Joselio Hanson as the starting cornerbacks. Phillip Adams and Coye Francies are in reserve, but neither played a snap on defense against Miami. Chmidi Chekwa, a fourth-round pick in 2011, is available on the practice squad.
General manager Reggie McKenzie and the personnel department were presumably busy lining up visits Tuesday from out-of-work cornerbacks.
One option would have free safety Michael Huff lining up as a cornerback in some packages. Huff was told at the end of last season by the previous staff he would be moving to cornerback, a plan that was scrapped by the new regime.
Matt Giordano would then get additional snaps at free safety.
“We’re going to look at the personnel that we have,’’ Allen said. “We’re going to look if there’s anybody out there that we feel like can help us.’’
Miami’s Brian Hartline caught nine passes for 111 yards against Lee and Hanson after never having more than five receptions in a game. It’s an understatement to say the next three weeks will be a challenge to a team with a depleted situation at cornerback.
The Pittsburgh Steelers come to town with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing to Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Next up is Denver, with all the problems Peyton Manning presents to a secondary. Then the Raiders travel to Atlanta, where Matt Ryan has two explosive talents in Julio Jones and Roddy White.
“The next guy has to step up (if Spencer is out),’’ Hanson said. “That’s why you have depth in the NFL. Everybody can play, so the next guy has to step up.’’
Barnes was replaced by Willie Smith for the final 40 snaps against Miami. Smith arrived as a waiver claim from the Washington Redskins when the Raiders finalized their 53-man roster.
“I thought he did some good things,’’ Allen said. “We’ll continue to work with him. I feel like he’s somebody that we can work with that can get better.’’
Allen took the unusual step of having the entire team watch film together instead of breaking up into position groups, delaying the start of his weekly press conference by more than two hours.
“I just felt like it was a good thing for us to get together and look at it as a team and see where we’ve got to make improvements so we don’t let these things happen again,’’ Allen said.
Hanson said it was the first time in his seven year career he’d watched film with the entire team.
“Any player across the league would say it was awkward at first . . . I think it was good, holding everyone accountable for what they do on the field,’’ Hanson said.
Said left tackle Jared Veldheer: “There’s a sense of urgency _ all the guys are depending on me to make this block or execute this play. I need to do it. How do I fix it? That kind of mentality.’’
– Allen said he was confident the Raiders could repair their punctured run defense with the current personnel.
– The Raiders average drive start is at the 19.5 yard line _ the worst in the NFL.
– The heat and humidity appeared to wear down the Oakland defensive in the second half, when it gave up 190 of Miami’s 263 rushing yards. Allen said it was “a factor but not an excuse.’’