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
”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
”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
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
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
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.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and