Raiders could have all 5 starters on offensive line back Sunday
ALAMEDA - Might the Raiders be back at full strength on the offensive line?'
It looked possible Friday when center Rodney Hudson was on the field with his teammates and officially listed as “questionable” with an ankle injury.
Given Hudson rarely misses time and earned legendary status in the locker room for playing through a kidney stone in late 2017, it's possible he'll give it a go Sunday when the Raiders host the Detroit Lions at the Coliseum.
Hudson and Andre James, the undrafted free agent who replaced him after 10 snaps and also has an ankle injury, rejoined their teammates on the field for the first time this week.
“They were out there, did a little bit,” coach Jon Gruden said. “Both are very sore still ... they're giving us what they have, but they're still sore.”
Hudson left the field on a cart in a 27-24 road loss in Houston to the Texans.
Asked if would be surprised to see Hudson on the field, Gruden was tempered in his optimism and noted the Lions have a stout defensive tackle over center in Damon “Snacks” Harrison, who weighs in at 350 pounds.
“I wouldn't be surprised to see Andre out there either. I just know they haven't been able to do very much and Snacks Harrison is one heck of a player that's playing in front of them,” Gruden said. “We have 48 hours before the game.”
When Hudson started against Houston, it marked the first time all season the Raiders lined up with the offensive line they had projected during the offseason - Kolton Miller at left tackle, Richie Incognito at left guard, Hudson at center, Gabe Jackson at right guard and Trent Brown at right tackle.
Miller is the only one to have taken every snap this season. Incognito spent the first two games on suspension, Hudson was lost after 10 snaps against Houston, Jackson missed the first five games with an MCL strain and Brown didn't face the Packers because of a calf strain.
With Hudson and James in doubt, Incognito was the fallback position at center and the Raiders also signed center Erik Magnuson off the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills. Denzelle Good, who subbed for Jackson during his absence, would move to left guard if Incognito was called to duty at center.
“We would like at some point to get those five guys together and look forward to that day,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “However, with that being said, with the injuries we've had, it's nice to have guys that have played multiple positions and are veteran players that the game is not to big for them.”
Raiders rolling with Jones, Davis at receiver
The Raiders didn't put in a waiver claim on former New England wide receiver Josh Gordon, believing it was more prudent with one game left in the first half of the regular season to continue to develop their own nomadic corps of receivers.
That includes Zay Jones, acquired for a fifth-round draft pick from Buffalo on Oct. 8, and Trevor Davis, who arrived from Green Bay on Sept. 19 in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
Gordon, who has had repeated issues with the NFL program for substances of abuse, was waived off injured reserve by New England and claimed by the Seattle Seahawks, who were No. 28 in the waiver claim order. The Raiders were No. 13.
Jones, a former second-round draft pick, was given a crash course in the offense and had his first two receptions against Houston for 27 yards.
“I really needed that. It was great to get out there, catch the pill in an actual game, have fun with my team,” Jones said. “I know the outcome wasn't what we wanted, but for me it was almost a breath of fresh air to be playing and I'm looking forward to Sunday.”
Jones said he relied on Davis, given that the former Cal receiver essentially went through the same process and had a three week head start.
“He had played in some games before me, so he understood the playbook better than I did and he helped get me acclimated to how we do things,” Jones said. “We can relate in the same sense of coming to a locker room and not quite knowing all the faces.”
Jones, who said he is now executing the offense without having to think as much, has never set foot inside the Coliseum. Davis, despite going to Alhambra High in Martinez and Cal, said he's only been there as a fan for one game. He said his ticket list is substantial, however, for friends and family.
Also listed as questionable, besides Hudson and James, were defensive end Josh Mauro (groin), wide receiver/return specialist Dwayne Harris (foot), safety Erik Harris (illness) and defensive tackle P.J. Hall (shoulder).
Dwayne Harris and Morrow are the only players on that list who did not take part in practice at all Friday.