ALAMEDA -– Raiders safety Nate Allen has been sidelined by a left knee injury before this season. He missed eight games on short-term injured reserve rehabbing a torn MCL, and the Silver and Black developed a plan to make up for his absence.
They moved top cornerback TJ Carrie to strong safety, and used DJ Hayden and David Amerson on the outside. That was the shakedown with Allen out earlier this year, with Larry Asante mixing in some at safety.
So, with Allen out again with a knee injury, Carrie should slide back to safety. He and head coach Jack Del Rio would confirm that directly, but the switch is expected heading into Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field.
“I’ve gotten comfortable playing a variety of positions,” Carrie said after Friday’s practice. “I think that I’ve been able accept the challenges (of learning a new spot) and find ways to buckle down, know the defense in and out and get the job done.”
Carrie fits well at safety. He’s a physical cover man unafraid of contact, with the ability to blanket receivers and tight ends alike.
“He has a lot of range,” Del Rio said. “He’s an intelligent guy, and we have no problem with him matching up whenever we want to stay in a base package against other (offensive personnel) groups because he can cover that third receiver.”
Exactly how long the Raiders secondary will revert to this old formation is uncertain. Del Rio considers Allen day-to-day after getting hurt in a Week 13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tests came back negative for major injury, and Allen is trying to rehab back into form this season. He has played five games including the last four, but knee troubles have hindered his first season in silver and black.
“As for Nate, prayers go out to him,” Carrie said. “Hopefully everything is okay as far as him being able to recover fast and come back healthy this season. As far as I’m concerned, I’m just out there being a ball player wherever I play.”