Raiders Try New Cornerbacks In Practice
By Ryan Leong
The Raiders are trying to overcome even more injuries as they prepare to host the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Linebacker Rolando McClain suffered a concussion in the game at Miami, but was not diagnosed with it until after the game.
“We’ll see where he’s at (Thursday), he’s kind of a day-to-day deal,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “It didn’t seem like it was a major one. It seemed like a minor deal and it’s kind of a precautionary measure to make sure we go through the whole process and make sure he’s fine.”
Given the physical nature of football, McClain was cautiously optimistic when he spoke to reporters.
“Obviously you don’t want to rush anything with a head injury, but I’m doing whatever it is I can do to get back, so we’ll see,” McClain said. “You take hard hits all the time. The doctors saw something. At the end of the game I didn’t feel like myself, but it was one of the more scary injuries,” said McClain. “With an ankle, you know what’s wrong but when it’s something with your head, you don’t know and that’s why it’s so important nowadays that you try and limit some of those things, take all the precautions that we are taking now with the significance of those head injuries so I’m doing whatever the trainers tell me to do and hopefully I can get back pretty fast.”
Allen later explained he cannot use injuries as an excuse for their 0-2 start.
“Listen, it is what it is and our deal is we’ve got NFL football players and we got to go out and play at a certain level and we hold all our guys accountable at the same level.”
The team just signed cornerback Brandian Ross from the Green Bay Packers. Ross made onto the 53-man roster out of training camp, but last week was demoted to the practice squad.
“It’s never OK because I wanted to play, but as the season went on, I got to learn so much about the defense,” Ross said. “I got to pick up on it because we didn’t have OTA’s (organized team activities) and minicamps last year so being on a practice squad actually helped me so then when I went to OTA’s this year I was two steps ahead.”
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was a personal executive with Green Bay last year and recommended to Allen that they take Ross.
“He’s a big guy, a physical guy, has got some coverage skills,” Allen said. “He’s a guy that Reggie knew about from being there with him, so he was a guy we thought could come in and compete.”
Cornerback has been one position the Raiders have shown their vulnerability. Ron Bartell broke his shoulder blade in the opener against the Chargers. Then this past week at Miami, Shawntae Spencer sprained his right foot in the fourth quarter. Pat Lee and Joselio Hanson have been inadequate replacements and with a high profile team in Pittsburgh looming on Sunday, changes had to be made.
Allen has even given free safety Michael Huff some reps at cornerback in practice.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.