ALAMEDA — A report surfaced Thursday morning about Raiders left offensive tackle Menelik Watson undergoing surgery to repair some knee damage that he suffered in practice last week.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said “no” Thursday afternoon, when asked if he would confirm the report. He added that it’s Raiders policy not to comment on a player’s health until he’s back on the field.
The report said Watson won’t be back for a month or so. Therefore, don’t expect any Watson updates for a while, given Watson isn’t in the locker room these days, either.
— Tight end David Ausberry didn’t practice Thursday, either. That makes it less likely that Ausberry will play Sunday against the Jaguars.
Allen typically prefers that players practice at least one day before a game for them to play in the game that week.
If Ausberry can’t play, Jeron Mastrud is expected to make his second straight start. Rookie Mychal Rivera also will see plenty of playing time.
Strong safety Tyvon Branch (shoulder) was limited at practice Thursday, one day after he missed all of practice because of an injury he suffered against the Colts.
— Linebacker Sio Moore was a full go at practice today. Therefore, it’s possible that he will start against the Jaguars, Allen said.
Moore is recovering from a toe injury that forced him to miss most of the opener against the Colts.
Allen said he envisions Moore and backup Kaluka Maiava getting significant playing time.
— Allen said he doesn’t care how the Raiders get their rushing yards, as long as the total is acceptable.
So be it, but there comes a time when the Raiders need to be able to count upon lead back Darren McFadden.
Against the Colts, McFadden netted only 48 yards on 17 carries. Overall, the Raiders amassed 171 yards rushing.
Allen said he is encouraged by the fact that the reason McFadden failed to bust off any long runs owes more to one or two guys not holding their blocks for long enough than it does anything McFadden did.
“It’s one or two guys being able to stay on their block longer, maybe hit the hole a little bit differently,” Allen said. “It was not a factor of breakdowns as much as just our ability to finish the play off and that’s what we have to continue to improve on.”
— Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver talked at length last year about the Raiders defense being “multiple.”
That never really materialized, for whatever reasons. Against the Colts, we got our first look at what Allen and Tarver envisioned.
Perhaps it’s Tarver now having the personnel. At some point, every one of the linebackers and defensive backs blitzed against the Colts.
“What we try to do defensively is to try to be multiple, try to be as simple as we can on ourselves, but give some different looks, bring some different people, make them have to account for everybody,” Allen said.
That’s what Tarver wants, for opposing offenses to wonder where the pressure is coming from on a given play, being forced to account for all 11 defenders each play.
— Tarver spent time earlier this week grilling offensive coordinator Greg Olson about the Jaguars offense and the players that remain from when Olson was the team’s offensive coordinator.
Tarver said, in particular, he got a better feel for which receivers quarterback Chad Henne likes to go to on certain plays and his strengths and weaknesses.
Olson said there’s only so much he can pass along given the offensive and defensives schemes changed in Jacksonville with the arrival of new head coach Gus Bradley.