Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele (70) missed the Chiefs game with a kidney stone but said he is good to go against San Diego. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
By Jerry McDonald
ALAMEDA — The Raiders returned to work Tuesday rested and ready.
And in the case of left guard Kelechi Osemele, relieved.
It turns out the “illness” which caused Osemele to be a late scratch from last Thursday’s 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs was a kidney stone, something he revealed to reporters following practice in excruciating detail.
“It’s frustrating, but you really don’t have control over the things that happen with your health,” Osemele said. “I’m just fortunate.”
Osemele indicated to Raiders fans on Twitter Monday “Great workout and it’s safe to say I’ve made a full recovery.” He is expected to be back in the starting lineup when the Raiders visit the San Diego Chargers Sunday.
As tough as it was to lose a lineman who has gone a long way toward making the Raiders one of the top lines in the NFL, rookie seventh-round pick Vadal Alexander filled in admirably.
“I didn’t know I was playing until I was warming up at the stadium,” Alexander said. “You’ve got to approach every week like you’re the starter, whether you are or not, because anything can happen. Each week can be a whole different situation.”
Alexander knows of what he speaks, for it’s been a roller coaster ride of a rookie season. First, he made the team as a seventh-round pick, then was forced into a starting role at right tackle in Weeks 4 and 5 against Baltimore and San Diego because of injuries to Austin Howard and Menelik Watson.
In four of the ensuing five games, Alexander was inactive, in part because of an ankle injury. Against the Chiefs, Alexander alternated with Jon Feliciano for three series at left guard, then played the remainder of the game, getting 66 of 75 total snaps.
Despite being without their most powerful run blocker, the Raiders rushed for 135 yards, including 102 on 23 carries by Latavius Murray. Quarterback Derek Carr was sacked only once.
“He did pretty well,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “We ran the ball well. We gave up one sack. That’s a good front. Overall, I thought he was part of a pretty solid effort up front.”
— The flip side of getting short rest following a Thursday game is the mini-bye that ensues afterward. The Raiders had a light practice Tuesday, their first since playing against the Chiefs.
“It was a quick turnaround, but they had to face the same thing, so no excuses there,” Murray said. “Now, being able to have a few days off, have the weekend off, feels really good. I think everyone feels good about that. That’s a positive going forward heading into this week in San Diego.”
Fullback Jamize Olawale said he wants to get the bad taste out of his mouth following the loss but conceded “it is necessary to rest your body as much as you can during the season. This was a good opportunity for me to get off my feet, spend time with the family.”
— The Raiders seemed to be following Del Rio’s lead with regard to how to react after seeing their six-game losing streak come to an end.
“I tell our guys, `We’re to going to lay around and bathe in the adulation of a win,’ ” Del Rio said. “We’re also not going to sit around and wallow in misery when we lose.”
In terms of playoff seeding, the Raiders went from No. 1 to No. 5, and Olawale figures if a that can happen in one week, it’s equally possible to have it go the other way in the next three games.
“Every week our objective is to win and it’s our only focus, really,” Olawale said. “I’m not really concerned about what seed we are. It can change in the matter of a week. We dropped four places. Every week that can change.”
Of more tangible interest is the fact that the Raiders can clinch a post-season berth against the Chargers with a win.
— Murray wanted no part of second-guessing the third-and-1 call that resulted in an incomplete pass from the Kansas City 14-yard line. Carr’s pass to Andre Holmes was incomplete, followed by a false start and another incomplete pass to end the game.
Even Del Rio said Monday he wished the Raiders would have run it.
“I know everybody wants to talk about what we should have did and maybe it’s one of those things we could have done differently,” Murray said. “But I trust in every call that comes in. If it had worked, we wouldn’t be talking about what we should have done. That’s just how the game goes.”