ALAMEDA — Left defensive end Jason Hunter missed all three practices this week with a sore quadriceps. Even so, coach Dennis Allen is leaving open the possibility of Hunter healing well enough to give it a go against the Washington Redskins.
More than likely, though, Hunter won’t be able to play — he’s listed as questionable — and the Raiders will turn to Brian Sanford and Jack Crawford to help fill the void.
Sanford is a third-year players out of Temple. Crawford is in his second season out of Penn State. Allen feels as if Sanford is a bit ahead of Crawford in terms of being a polished all-around player.
“He’s got some versatility,” Allen said of Sanford. “He can play inside in the nickel, he’s got a little bit of rush ability but he’s also athletic enough that he can play some base defensive end for us and that’s really the role that he’s played on our defense.”
As for Crawford, he didn’t play much his rookie season, as the Raiders leaned heavily upon veterans Lamarr Houston, Andre Carter and others.
If Hunter can’t play Sunday, it’s an ideal opportunity for Crawford to make a case for more playing time from here on out.
“There’s still a lot of improvement that he needs to make,” Allen said of Crawford. “We feel good with some of the guys that we have and feel good with Brian Sanford going in there. … It would be a great opportunity for Jack if Jason’s not able to go, to get in and play and do some good things.”
— Rookie offensive tackle Menelik Watson hasn’t played all season because of a torn ligament in his right knee that required surgery.
Allen said he is “hopeful” that Watson will be cleared to resume practicing next week. Watson missed most of training camp with an injury he suffered during the offseason and then got shut down a few days after he first practiced in camp.
It will be interesting to see what the Raiders do upon Watson’s return. He was slated to start the regular-season opener at left offensive tackle.
Khalif Barnes is at the left tackle spot now, with veteran Tony Pashos playing well at the right tackle spot. It says here that Watson goes to left tackle — at least until Jared Veldheer returns from his triceps injury — and Barnes moves into one of the guard spots.
— Here are the official status reports of the injured Raiders for Sunday’s game:
SS Tyvon Branch (out); Hunter, LB Sio Moore (probable), G Lucas Nix (questionable), FB Jamize Olawale (probable), CB Tracy Porter (probable), QB Terrelle Pryor (questionable) and Watson (out).