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

passing record.

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

ball.”

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

Brady.

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

call.”

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

unavailable.

”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.