ALAMEDA – Losing right tackle Menelik Watson in the preseason was a significant blow. The third-year pro ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon during the third preseason game against Arizona, a troubling development for a promising young player.
Outside of that, the Raiders made it through the preseason intact.
Receiver Andre Holmes missed three weeks with a fractured hand, but he’s back and ready to go against Cincinnati. Tight end Clive Walford was out most of the preseason and, as a rookie, is probably worse off mentally for the time missed. Physically, Walford says he’s 100 percent.
Defensive end Justin Tuck has missed a few weeks, but seemed quietly confident in a quick return.
We could see a few players on the season’s first participation report following Wednesday afternoon’s practice, but the Raiders came out of preseason healthy relatively healthy.
“We did,” head coach Jack Del Rio said last week. “That’s why it’s important to keep perspective this time of year. We have prepared our football team well. We had one significant injury where we lost somebody, and that was unfortunate. Beyond that, we have prepared our football team for the season. We have made a lot of improvement from where we started. We’re excited about getting started now.”
Raiders strength and conditioning coach Joe Gomes puts a tremendous emphasis on recovery and injury prevention, including the nutrition and training to accomplish those goals.
“The coaches have done a solid job of getting us prepared for each practice,” receiver Amari Cooper said. “We’re healthy and excited for the season to start.”
Del Rio tried to practice smart, though he didn’t limit established veterans during those sessions. He did dial back for safety Charles Woodson, who didn’t play more than a series in two games. He was in a group of 21 starters who didn’t play the exhibition finale against Seattle.
“We’re a pretty healthy team, and that’s always a blessing,” safety Nate Allen said. “You need a little luck in this game, and we’ve been pretty fortunate thus far. We’re ready to hit the ground running.”