Raiders hurting in the secondary
The Oakland Raiders might be without both starting cornerbacks
against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Mike Jenkins has a hamstring injury that has limited him in
workouts, and Tracy Porter sustained a hip flexor during practice
Friday. Both are listed as questionable.
That could pose a serious problem Sunday in the regular-season
finale when Manning will attempt to break the NFL’s single-season
Seldom-used Chimdi Chekwa and Phillip Adams will start if
Jenkins and Porter are unable to play. Chekwa, a fourth-round pick
in 2011, has just one start in his career. Adams has made three and
has played mostly as a nickel back for the past six weeks.
”It’s going to be a challenge, obviously,” Chekwa said.
”(Manning) is a great quarterback who knows how to put the ball
where it needs to be, so as a defensive back you have to have good
technique (and) in position to try to make a play on the
The Raiders didn’t have much success at all against Manning when
the two teams met in late September. The Broncos’ quarterback
completed 32 of 37 throws for 374 yards, three touchdowns and a
passer rating of 135.8.
That was when Oakland had a full complement of cornerbacks. Much
has changed since then.
If Jenkins and Porter are unable to play Sunday, the Raiders
will be down to just three healthy cornerbacks – Chekwa, Adams and
Chance Casey, who was activated from the practice squad on Dec. 7.
Taiwan Jones is also on the roster but has spent the past month
taking snaps as a backup running back.
Chekwa, who had seven tackles in last week’s loss to San Diego
when Jenkins got hurt, has made just one other start in the NFL –
on Oct. 2, 2011, against the New England Patriots and Tom
Now he’ll be squaring off against Manning, whose career he
watched closely while growing up in Louisiana.
”I followed Peyton Manning when he was in high school and I was
just a kid back in New Orleans,” Chekwa said. ”To get an
opportunity to play against him is exciting. He’s going to find the
weakness in the defense and we just have make sure we execute the
The Raiders also are trying to snap a five-game losing streak
and avoid finishing 4-12 for the second consecutive year.
It won’t be an easy task.
Denver has won four straight games by an average of 18 1/2
points in the series between the two AFC West rivals. The Broncos
are well-balanced on offense and have a trio of receivers and one
tight end who have scored at least 10 touchdowns apiece.
The key, however, remains Manning.
”If you’re going to zero in on anybody, you’re going to zero in
on Peyton Manning,” Chekwa said. ”You know, try to affect the
quarterback. I think that’s the only hope of making the play and
getting the win.”
Jenkins has battled a variety of nagging injuries throughout the
year, but Porter had been relatively healthy until showing up on
the Raiders’ injury report Friday.
Oakland’s need to find healthy cornerbacks coincided with the
retirement of former Raiders defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha. A
press conference for the three-time Pro Bowl pick was held at the
team’s headquarters two hours after practice ended.
As much as the Raiders could use the help, however, it appears
they’re willing to go with Chekwa and Adams if the two starters are
”I thought (Chekwa) played pretty well in the last game,”
Oakland coach Dennis Allen said. ”So if Mike’s not able to go for
whatever reason, Chimdi will go in.”
Notes: RG Mike Brisiel and backup RB Jeremy Stewart are listed
as probable after being limited in practice earlier in the week.
… Jones will continue to return kickoffs, according to Allen.