With Stefen Wisniewski missing practice for the second consecutive day Thursday the Raiders will likely be facing one of the NFL’s most dominant fronts without the player most adept at relaying blocking assignments.
Veteran Andre Gurode, who started at center in a 27-17 win over San Diego, will assume that spot again against the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs, with Lucas Nix making his second straight start at left guard.
The center position is key against Kansas City in that Dontari Poe, a 6-foot-1, 346-pound nose tackle, is the central figure in the Chiefs’ 3-4 defense. Poe has 4.5 sacks for a team that leads the NFL in that department with 21.
“The more (Gurode) plays in there, the better he’s going to be,’’ Allen said Wednesday. “I would look for even more improvement out of him this week, although he’s got a tough challenge.’’
With the bye week following the Kansas City game, chances are the Raiders could get Wisniewski back when play resumes on Oct. 27 with a home date against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Allen stressed, however, the Raiders won’t be holding anyone out that is ready to play against Kansas City in order to get the extra week’s rest the bye provides.
“You play with the guys that are healthy enough to play and if the guys are healthy enough to play, they’ll be out there Sunday,’’ Allen said. “We need all these guys to go out there and win this football game and we need to take all the able bodies we have and healthy guys we have and go win a game.’’
The good news for the Raiders was that running backs Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings both practiced for the second straight day, making it likely they’ll face the Chiefs.
McFadden missed the San Diego game with a hamstring strain, while Jennings carried 10 times for 41 yards before leaving with the same injury.
Right tackle Tony Pashos (groin) practiced again, which is a good sign since left outside linebacker Justin Houston has 8.5 sacks.
Players who weren’t on the field Thursday aside from Wisniewski included tackle Menelik Watson (calf) and safety Tyvon Branch (ankle).