By Steve Corkran
Thursday, September 5th, 2013 at 12:01 pm in Oakland Raiders.
ALAMEDA — Starting left offensive tackle Menelik Watson isn’t practicing today, which makes it more likely that he won’t make his regular-season debut against the Indianapolis Colts after all.
Watson “tweaked” a knee during practice Wednesday. Coach Dennis Allen said at the time that he didn’t know how severe the injury is, though it forced Watson to miss practice time.
Well, now we know that the injury is bad enough that Watson can’t practice today. This wouldn’t be such a concern for the Raiders if it weren’t for the fact that Watson missed almost all of training camp and played in only one exhibition game because of a calf injury.
Oh, and Watson is a rookie, so he needs all the reps he can get. We’re not talking about a 10-year veteran. Then there’s the issue of Watson entrusted with protecting the quarterback’s blind side, be it Terrelle Pryor or Matt Flynn.
Barnes started at left tackle during his four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, he has played predominantly right tackle since he signed with the Raiders in 2009.
Tony Pashos will take over for Barnes at right offensive tackle if Watson can’t play. The other potential issue for the Raiders if Watson can’t go is the fact that the Raiders don’t have any other tackles on their roster.
Jared Veldheer is injured, Tony Bergstrom is on season-ending injured reserve and the likes of Willie Smith and Alex Barron were released.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Raiders sign another offensive tackle between now and Sunday.
In other news, kicker Sebastian Janikowski is back at practice. He missed Wednesday because of a sore right calf. Allen said that Janikowski will be “fine” for the Colts game.