2 more Oakland starters injured

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C

ALAMEDA – The aftermath of the Raiders' 35-13 road loss to Miami on Sunday included news of the possible loss of two more starters and a team film session that served as a lesson in accountability.

Cornerback Shawntae Spencer and right tackle Khalif Barnes could be out for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh and beyond. Spencer has a sprained right foot and Barnes an injured groin.

"Those are two guys who could miss some time," coach Dennis Allen said Monday at his weekly media briefing.

Spencer, who was injured in the fourth quarter Sunday, was spotted on crutches and wearing a protective boot on his right foot. Asked how long he could be out, Spencer said, "We'll see (Tuesday)."

If Spencer can't play, the Raiders already will have lost both starting cornerbacks. Ron Bartell is on short-term injured reserve because of a broken shoulder blade and can't return until late October.

The Raiders finished Sunday's game with Pat Lee and Joselio Hanson at cornerback. Phillip Adams and Coye Francies (Cordova High School) are in reserve, but neither played a snap on defense against Miami. Chimdi Chekwa, a fourth-round pick in 2011, is available on the practice squad.

General manager Reggie McKenzie and the personnel department were preparing to meet with available cornerbacks today.

One option would have free safety Michael Huff lining up as a cornerback in some packages. At the end of last season, the previous coaching staff told Huff he would be moving to cornerback, a plan the new regime scrapped. If Huff shifted to cornerback, Matt Giordano would get additional snaps at free safety.

"We're going to look at the personnel that we have," Allen said. "We're going to look if there's anybody out there that we feel like can help us."

Miami's Brian Hartline caught nine passes for 111 yards against Lee and Hanson after not having more than five receptions in a game. And for a team with a depleted cornerback corps, the next three weeks will be a challenge.

The Steelers arrive with Ben Roethlisberger and targets Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Denver and Peyton Manning are next. Then the Raiders travel to Atlanta, where Matt Ryan has two explosive talents in Julio Jones and Roddy White.

"The next guy has to step up (if Spencer is out)," Hanson said. "That's why you have depth in the NFL. Everybody can play."

Willie Smith replaced Barnes for the final 40 snaps against Miami. Smith arrived as a waiver claim from Washington when the Raiders finalized their 53-man roster.

"I thought he did some good things," Allen said. "We'll continue to work with him. I feel like he's somebody that we can work with that can get better."

Allen took the unusual step of having the entire team watch film together instead of breaking up into position groups, delaying his weekly news conference by more than two hours.

"I just felt like it was a good thing for us to get together and look at it as a team and see where we've got to make improvements so we don't let these things happen again," Allen said.

Hanson said it was the first time in his eight-year career he'd watched film with the entire team.

"Any player across the league would say it was awkward at first," Hanson said. "I think it was good, holding everyone accountable for what they do on the field."

Said left tackle Jared Veldheer: "There's a sense of urgency – all the guys are depending on me to make this block or execute this play. I need to do it. How do I fix it? That kind of mentality."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jerry McDonald



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