Raiders’ right tackle battle will go ‘down to the wire’

Menelik Watson is looking to stay healthy and win the right tackle job. (Staff archives)

Menelik Watson is looking to stay healthy and win the right tackle job. (Staff archives)

NAPA — The Raiders’ battle at right tackle won’t be decided today, tomorrow and maybe not in two weeks.

Menelik Watson and Austin Howard have picked back up where they left off last season, each fighting on the fields beyond the Napa Valley Marriott for the right to start the Sept. 11 opener. If last year taught us anything, it may simply be the man still standing at the end of camp that wins the job. 

Watson was in line to be the starter entering the third preseason game in 2015 before he ruptured his Achilles. Howard, the team’s starting right guard in 2014, took over in Watson’s absence and held the job until a knee injury cost him the final three games.

Howard has slowly worked himself back this offseason from that knee surgery, plus another shoulder injury. Watson’s been ready to go since organized team activities in May as he hopes to put his injury-plagued past in the rear view.

“It’s going well,” Raiders offensive line coach Mike Tice said of the battle. “We want to make sure that both guys are getting equal work.

“It’s going to come down to the wire and the guy that doesn’t win the job is going to have to swing for us.”

Watson continues to be a bit of a mystery since being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. His NFL bio includes a laundry list of injuries. Knee surgery cost him the first seven games of his rookie season, then he missed the final four in 2014 with a foot/ankle ailment before the ruptured Achilles last year.

Tice hopes improved work with Raiders strength and conditioning coach Joe Gomes keeps Watson available.

“We’re just hopeful he can sustain what he’s started out in camp, which is playing at a high level and performing and getting his reps,” Tice said.



Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • RaidingTexas


  • Lowdown_in_Beijing

    Camp reporting is a tad stale thus far

  • Alex7!

    the equivalent of reporting on an MLB hitter’s cage work.

  • inonewordraider

    Most hated on current raiders:
    1. Dj
    2. Menelik
    3. Nate
    4. Jano
    5. Murray
    6. Malcolm
    7. Condo

  • Lowdown_in_Beijing

    Ugh…so true. Chuck Norris infomercials have more action

  • Alex7!

    I believe it’s also due to the team controlling what the media can see and report.

  • Dakota

    Thankfully, we don’t have Sparano burying his balls everywhere.

  • BigTed707

    Cook is climbing the charts

  • inonewordraider

    Interesting discovery however

  • JLofty

    I got a coworker I’m trying to do that to…

  • JLofty

    How can you hate on the Senator?

  • R8der4evr

    Fisher wants to play again, Mozgov awaits,Deng it.

  • inonewordraider

    If he signed with the dubs, youd finally have a clutch shooter

  • R8der4evr


  • RaidingTexas

    Lol there’s only one guy on the blog that hates Condo. I’m pretty sure there are several more Cook haters.

  • R8der4evr

    Nice try

  • timetojam

    Tom Jackson will work his final ESPN assignment this weekend at Hall-of-Fame enshrinement ceremonies in Canton
    ———– hooray

  • inonewordraider

    This post is toast

  • Raider Bren

    Barring injury, it’ll be Watson.

  • Chris in NY

    Menelik will be a beast if he stays healthy. You can’t hate Jano. Murray needs a strong line but he can excel big time if given a lane. Malcolm Smith was one of our best players in 2015, period. Condo is a legend.