Raiders hopeful Smith will be able to play against Texans
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders are hoping to have cornerback Sean Smith back in the lineup for Monday's game in Mexico City against the Houston Texans.
Smith made it through a third consecutive day of practice Saturday and continues to wear a protective sling on his left shoulder while being listed as questionable on the team's medical report.
Coach Jack Del Rio, who rarely discusses injuries in detail, declined to say whether Smith would play but sounded optimistic.
''Our guys that are questionable, we had about six of them, I'm hoping they can all play,'' Del Rio said. ''We'll just see how it goes.''
That list includes wide receiver Amari Cooper and running back Latavius Murray, along with offensive linemen Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele. All four have been limited in practice this week.
Defensive tackle Stacy McGee, who is nursing an ankle injury, joins Smith as the only defensive players on the injury list.
Smith has not played since suffering a shoulder injury on the second play of the game against Tampa Bay on Oct. 30. Although the injury wasn't serious, Smith – one of the Raiders' top free-agent acquisitions after signing a $38 million, four-year deal – was held out of Oakland's Week 9 win over Denver.
With the Raiders on a bye last week, Smith will have had three weeks of rest by the time of Monday night's kickoff.
''When you talk about bye week, midseason is always ideal for any football team,'' Smith said. ''Halfway to take a break and now we can knock out the other half.''
Smith rejoins a secondary that struggled early in the season but has played better in recent weeks.
After giving up an average of 338 passing yards through the first five weeks, the Raiders have allowed only one quarterback – Denver's Trevor Siemian – to throw for more than 240 yards in the past four games.
Texans QB Brock Osweiler passed for just 255 yards total in the last two games combined and has been held under 200 yards five times.
Smith said he is focusing more on Houston offensive coordinator George Godsey's play-calling than he is on Osweiler's low numbers.
''I personally don't like to let the quarterback dictate how I'm going to attack the game,'' Smith said. ''For me, it's playing against the offensive coordinator. The only thing I can get from a quarterback is if he likes to stare down his targets, does he have a quick release or slow release? Other than that you're kind of playing against the coordinator.
''Regardless of who the receiver or quarterback is, somebody else is controlling them. If I can understand how that guy likes to think, his favorite concepts, that's the key.''
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