Raiders C Wisniewski still out with calf injury

Stefen Wisniewski has a tough enough adjustment to make in his

second year in the NFL after having changed positions and blocking

systems with the Oakland Raiders.

Injuries that are keeping him off the practice field are only

making that job more difficult.

After missing all offseason workouts while recovering from

shoulder surgery, Wisniewski has now been sidelined more than a

week with an injured calf sustained in the exhibition opener.

The lack of time on the practice field for Wisniewski is

becoming a growing concern for the Raiders (tied for No. 23 in the

AP Pro32), who are counting on Wisniewski to anchor the line at

center this season as the team adapts to the zone blocking

system.

”He needs to get the reps,” coach Dennis Allen said Tuesday.

”It’s football and you don’t just show up and play so every day

he’s not out here he’s a little bit farther behind. But he’s been

keeping up mentally as far as taking the mental reps and in the

meetings, but it’s hard to replace those physical reps you get here

and in games.”

Wisniewski hurt his shoulder early in his rookie season and

played through a labrum tear for most of the year. He still was

impressive for the most part as a key part of Oakland’s line at

left guard, but did struggle at times late in the season.

He had surgery after the season and spent the entire offseason

program rehabbing, attending meetings and watching his teammates

learn a new system as Oakland moved from a power blocking to a zone

blocking scheme that puts more emphasis on quickness than strength

for linemen.

”You got to be able to move,” Wisniewski said. ”If you look

at our O-line, that’s one thing we all can do across the board. We

can move, we can run, we’re athletic. So I think it’s going to work

for us, especially with the speed we’ve got at running back.”

The Raiders were hoping to give Wisniewski a lot of work in

training camp to make up for lost time as he moved to center to

replace the departed Samson Satele.

But that ended when he left the exhibition opener against Dallas

on Aug. 13 following the first drive with the injured calf. He

hasn’t practiced since and with less than three weeks until the

season opener against San Diego on Sept. 10, time is of the essence

to get Wisniewski ready.

”It’s tough to just watch,” Wisniewski said. ”Especially

having to watch a preseason game on TV, that’s not fun or something

I want to get used to.

Wisniewski said the injury is day to day but he doesn’t want to

push things too fast because it’s only the preseason. He doesn’t

think he will need much time after getting back on the practice

field to be ready to play in a regular season game.

”I feel like I was working at that speed when I got into camp

and was getting comfortable and working well with my guards,” he

said. ”I don’t think it will take too long to get back to that

level once I’m back practicing.”

With Wisniewski sidelined, backup Alex Parsons has gotten plenty

of time to work with the first-team line at center. Parsons

originally signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent out

of Southern California in 2010. He was part of the final cuts after

each of his first two training camps, spending two years on the

practice squad.

He hopes this is the year he finally sticks.

”It’s tough to see your team out there and you practice with

them,” Parsons said. ”Last year we didn’t travel to road games.

It’s one of those things where you look at your team on TV and you

wish you were out there. You just have to make the best of your

experience now.”

Parsons came back again this season to Oakland hoping to make

the squad on his third try. He lost about 20 pounds, which has made

him quicker for the new system.

Now he’s getting a chance to show how that helps him on the

field and has impressed his teammates so far.

”We didn’t skip a beat with protection calls, we didn’t skip a

beat in the run game,” quarterback Carson Palmer said.

”Everything was just kind of flowing and easy and there weren’t

any mental mistakes as far as that’s concerned. When you’re in the

huddle with a guy and you notice that he’s a rookie, that he’s a

guy that hasn’t been in the huddle a bunch, that’s concerning, and

it’s not that way at all with Alex. He’s been on top of

everything.”

NOTES: DE Andre Carter, who had 10 sacks for New England last

season before being placed on IR with a left quadriceps injury,

worked out for the Raiders after practice. … S Michael Huff

returned to the team after missing Friday’s game and Sunday’s

practice for the birth of his daughter. … WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

(shoulder) and QB Matt Leinart (right index finger) returned to

practice after injuries in Friday’s loss at Arizona.

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