ALAMEDA – Raiders weak side linebacker Sio Moore practiced just a handful of times in training camp. He missed the first full-squad session on the active/physically unable to perform list, returned for a few practices and was placed back on the shelf with an undisclosed ailment.
That was more than two weeks ago. Newcomer Malcolm Smith played well at Moore’s spot in the interim, and head coach Jack Del Rio said the incumbent starter won’t be handed his old job back.
Moore has worked with the second unit since the offseason program, when he was still recovering from offseason hip surgery. Despite the fact that Moore has 22 starts in his first two seasons, he won’t be given anything.
Del Rio said the same thing about running back Roy Helu Jr., who returned to work after missing three weeks with a hamstring strain. Helu should be the team’s third-down back when the regular season starts.
Smith could be on the field for every down, leaving Moore in the cold. Del Rio has added a sense of urgency to the return of players missing an extended period. That’s especially true for Sio Moore.
“Right now, he’s competing to be a role player somewhere,” Del Rio said. “You have to make sure he can do that. I think he and Roy are in the same boat in terms of being guys who missed a lot of time. The team, we move forward. We’ll see. They’ll get opportunities over the next week or two weeks and see if they can create a role for themselves and help us on Sundays. To try and cram a guy who hasn’t played at all in camp into a potential role as a feature player, I think that’s a little far-fetched right now.”
[RELATED: Helu, Moore return to Raiders practice, Tuck held out]
That could be the case in the early going, even with two-plus weeks left until the regular season starts. There is still time to get back into the mix.
“It depends on how talented the guy is, and how strong his skill set is,” Del Rio said. “I think it’s different in each case. Clearly, they’re running short of time. There has to be urgency and a premium on whatever they’re able to shows us over the next couple of weeks.”
Helu said Wednesday that he understands the sense of urgency placed on the preseason time remaining, and plans to push himself hard to get back in the flow.
Moore did not make himself available for comment.
Del Rio praised Smith’s efforts on the weak side, where he’s spent most of his time after signing as a free agent from Seattle.
“Malcolm has done well,” Del Rio said. “He’s a good player, playing well for us. He’s starting to provide some leadership. He and Curtis are looking comfortable in there playing with one another.”
Other injury notes
-- Defensive end Justin Tuck skipped Saturday’s exhibition against Minnesota and was held out of Wednesday’s practice with injury. Del Rio said Tuck ‘s undisclosed issue was not a serious matter.
-- Cornerback Keith McGill returned to practice after missing a few sessions just before the Vikings game. He played just two snaps in that game.
-- Rookie tight end Clive Walford remains out, missing valuable time as a regular season encroaches.