BALTIMORE – The Raiders will start another player at right tackle. They’ve started two and played five at that spot, with their two best options ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Starter Menelik Watson will miss his second game of the year with his second injury in four weeks, this time down with a calf injury. Primary backup Austin Howard will miss his third game and second straight with an ankle issue originally incurred in the preseason finale.
That leaves seventh-round rookie Vadal Alexander and Matt McCants, who was designated as questionable on the Raiders official injury report Friday, but is expected to play.
Head coach Jack Del Rio wouldn’t name a starter, but Alexander is the healthier option and impressed coaches in his first extended action against Tennessee. He's a big, physical player who fits in well with this offensive line. McCants has three starts to his name but is just returning from a knee injury suffered in the season opener. He was a limited participant in this week’s primary practices and fully active in Friday’s walk-thru.
“McCants and Vadal both took a lot of reps at that spot and some other guys did as well just in case," Del Rio said. "I think all of our guys are ready to go whichever way we end up going. I think our football team feels confident that we’ve got good players and they know what they’re doing."
Safety Nate Allen was also ruled out with a quadriceps injury that shut him down from Thursday on.
Center Rodney Hudson is questionable and expected play. Special teamer Taiwan Jones received the same designation, though his status is less certain.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh kept key components of his offensive line in play when speaking to Baltimore press on Friday. He wouldn’t rule out starting left tackle and No. 6 overall pick Ronnie Stanley despite him missing the practice week with a foot injury, though he’s considered doubtful.
Harbaugh expressed optimism in starting left guard Alex Lewis’s playing status as he works through the concussion protocol. He practiced for the first time Friday.
Raiders Status Report
OT Menelik Watson (groin), OT Austin Howard (calf), S Nate Allen (quad)
RB Taiwan Jones (concussion), C Rodney Hudson (knee), OT Matt McCants (knee)
Ravens Status Report
OT Ronnie Stanley, RB Kenneth Dixon (knee), CB Sheldon Price (thigh)
WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), OG Alex Lewis (concussion), KR/PR Devin Hester (thigh), LB Elvis Dumervil (foot), G John Urschel (shoulder)
NOTE: WR Steve Smith Sr. (not injury related), OL Marshall Yanda (not injury related), OL Jeremy Zuttah (not injury related) and LB Terrell Suggs (not injury related) did not receive an injury designation, meaning they will play.