Practice summary: News that Jared Veldheer tore his triceps cast a pall over Wedensday’s post-practice activity. The mood was sullen as teammates absorbed a loss that can’t be underscored, considering the star left will miss most, if not all of the season.
Losing Veldheer is just the latest setback for an offensive line in shambles. Right guard Mike Brisiel has underperformed and is now out with a knee injury. Left guard Lucas Nix has missed most of camp with a knee injury and another, undisclosed ailment. Rookie tackle Menelik Watson has practiced only once due to a calf injury.
There’s been little continuity along the offensive front, not enough for the line to truly come together.
“It’s been tough,” center Stefen Wisniewski said. “We’ve had a couple left guards and a couple right guards, and now we’re working with a new left tackle. I think we all communicate really well despite that fact, and we’re all on the same page. There’s a little bit of a learning curve when someone comes in, but it won’t take long to get back up to full speed.”
The starting line still isn’t set on the interior because competition continues at both guard positions. Tony Bergstrom and Nix are battling at left guard and Andre Gurode has practiced well at right guard with Brisiel out. After a pedestrian camp, there’s no guarantee Brisiel will get his first-team spot back.
The Raiders also have to work in Alex Barron, who will play left tackle in Veldheer’s absence.
“You have to start from square one a little bit with new guys, but we’ve got time to get some work in,” Wisniewski said. “At the same time, we have to hurry a little bit because the regular season’s going to be here before you know it."
The Raiders have a preseason game to play on Friday at New Orleans and a starting quarterback to keep healthy, meaning Barron especially must be effective right away.
“Everybody has to step up, myself included,” Barron said. “We have to bring it together quickly and become even closer because of this.”
Allen declined comment on how the Raiders would break up the reps between the quarterbacks and teams for the exhibition game against the Saints.
Offensive play of the day: Tight end Mychal Rivera made an excellent diving grab on a pass from Matt McGloin that was slightly off target. The rookie used his athleticism to make something out of a play seemingly doomed.
Defensive play of the day: Cornerback Chance Casey flashed some speed by slapping a McGloin pass away and incomplete. Casey has thrived during camp, but he remains low on the depth chart in a deep position group.
Rookie report: CB D.J. Hayden took first-team reps for a second-straight day, in what will be his last practice in a red non-contact jersey. The Raiders expect he’ll be cleared for full contact on Friday and able to practice fully on Sunday, the first session back following the exhibition against New Orleans. … TE Mychal Rivera made the play of the day, and showed why he can be useful on passing downs.
New injuries: None
Returning from injuries: DL Brandon Bair, MLB Nick Roach, CB Taiwan Jones
Still sidelined: CB Tracy Porter, RG Mike Brisiel (knee), RB Latavius Murray, WR Juron Criner, OL Menelik Watson (calf), DT Pat Sims (hamstring), WR Jacoby Ford (knee), DT Vance Walker, LB Kaluka Maiava
Physically unable to perform list: LB Miles Burris (knee)
Note: Generally, Allen does not comment on injury specifics during training camp.
Quote of the day: "I tried to give him some comforting words, because I've been there before. He's a young player and still has a lot of good football ahead of him. Hopefully his recovery will be quick and he'll be able to come back." -- Right tackle Khalif Barnes on the loss of left tackle Jared Veldheer