By Steve Corkran
Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 2:16 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Monday that tight end Mychal Rivera and cornerback are going through the league-mandated concussion protocol and that both players already are showing progress.
Both players suffered concussions against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. It seems a stretch for either Rivera or Jenkins to play in the Raiders next game, given it comes Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys.
Allen said he isn’t ruling out either player, though.
– Sebastian Janikowski has missed seven of 22 field-goal attempts this season. That’s as many as he missed in 2011 and 2012 combined.
Much has been made of Janikowski adjusting to a new holder, Marquette King, this season after spending his first 13 seasons working with Shane Lechler.
Allen has no interest in pointing fingers at anyone, and he downplayed the suggestion that there might be an issue between Janikowski and King.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s an issue,” Allen said. “But I would say that when we go out there to kick field goals, we got to make field goals.
“I said this (Sunday) night, that there’s 11 guys that take the field on that field-goal unit. All of them have to do their job to be able to execute and get three points on the board. We’ve obviously got to do a better job in that phase of converting on our field-goal opportunities.”
Allen said “no” when asked if he intended to bring in another kicker as a result of Janikowski’s struggles. Janikowski wasn’t available for comment Sunday.
– The plan remains for left offensive tackle Jared Veldheer to make his 2013 debut against the Cowboys, Allen said.
Veldheer has spent most of the past four months recovering from a triceps injury that required surgery. Allen said Veldheer hasn’t suffered any setbacks since he resumed practicing. Therefore, it’s time to turn the big fella loose in a game.
Just the game, Allen said, it’s likely that Veldheer will be eased into the mix and not play an entire game. That way Veldheer can work his way into game shape.
As for what happens with Khalif Barnes once Veldheer returns, Allen didn’t offer any specifics.
Don’t plan on seeing rookie offensive tackle Menelik Watson anytime soon. He was a healthy scratch against the Titans, with Matt McCants getting the nod as one of the backups for that game.
“With Menelik, we have a situation with a guy who has really played a year of junior college, a year at Florida State and then missed training camp and the majority of the season,” Allen said. “He’s behind from a fundamental standpoint.”
Watson missed most of training camp and started one game before he suffered a second injury — he arrived at camp with a calf injury. He then missed significant time before he returned during the first half of the season.
“Matt McCants is a guy who we picked up early who’s been in the system and has been getting the work in,” Allen said. “And, when he’s gone in there, he’s played well. He’s ahead of Menelik. We still feel like Menelik has a bright future for us, but he’s missed so much time.”
– Running back Darren McFadden and strong safety Tyvon Branch are working out today, Allen said.
It’s conceivable that McFadden’s hamstring will heal enough and in time for him to play against the Cowboys. Allen said Branch is “getting closer” to playing again, though it likely won’t be this week. He hurt his ankle in Oakland’s second game this season and he hasn’t practiced or played in a game for more than two months.
– Linebacker Kevin Burnett is day-to-day with a quadriceps bruise. Coach Allen said he is confident that Burnett will be able to play Thursday.
“I saw him in there this morning, and he seemed to think he was fine,” Allen said. “So hopefully that’s the case.”
– Fullback Marcel Reece executed the Wildcat formation the two times the Raiders used it Sunday. This, despite the fact quarterback Terrelle Pryor was healthy enough to play.
Allen said the plan beforehand was to use Reece in the Wildcat. There also was a package of plays in the offense for Terrelle Pryor, though none of those plays got used.
“I felt like if we could play this game and still do well offensively and didn’t have to use those packages we’d be able to give him another week to heal up a little bit,” Allen said. “That was beneficial to him. We’ll see how that goes moving forward if there’s a way we can get him into the game in some of those packages.”
– Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa received some meaningful playing time against the Titans. It’s possible that he will get even mnore against the Cowboys unless Jenkins’ bounce back is a fast one.
“Chekwa was solid,” Allen said. “Obviously, they went at him on the one third-down play for a third-down conversion. It was a catch-tackle with just enough to get the first down, but that’s the first action, really, that Chimdi’s seen this year at the corner position.
“He’s a guy that, he’s really much improved from where he was at this point a year ago and if he has to go in there and play, then we’ve got confidence that he’ll go in and play well.”