Raiders report: ‘Worldly’ offensive lineman ready for spotlight
Coach Jon Gruden is a big fan of the team’s new offensive lineman from England, who is expected to be pressed into starting duty on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
All practices at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center, unless noted:
■ Saturday — Travel
■ Sunday — at Pittsburgh Steelers, 10 a.m.
■ Monday — Off
■ Tuesday — Off
■ Wednesday — Practice, 10:50 a.m.
■ Thursday — Practice, 10:50 a.m.
■ Friday — Practice, 11 a.m.
■ Saturday — Off
■ Sunday — vs. Miami Dolphins, Allegiant Stadium, 1:05 p.m.
Quote of the day
Guard Jermaine Eluemunor made instant fans with his first podium appearance at the team facility Thursday when he was funny and engaging in telling his story of moving to the United States in hopes of learning to play football.
Coach Jon Gruden wasn’t surprised by the reaction.
“He’s going to get quite a fan base,” he said of the England native who is expected to start Sunday. “ He’s a really interesting person. We have a right tackle (Alex Leatherwood) that I think the man he wanted to have dinner with if he could meet anybody was Socrates. So, Leatherwood is a deep, philosophical cat. And now we got this Eluemunor who comes from abroad and he’s played soccer and he’s worldly. And he’s very intelligent, and I’m not. So, it’s really cool to be around these two guys. How quickly they have learned our system and how they enjoy competing and playing football.”
Josh Jacobs’ absence for Sunday’s game with ankle and toe injuries captured the headlines, but only scratches the surface of the list of walking wounded for the Raiders.
A total of 18 players appeared on Friday’s final injury report, including eight with game designations.
Guard Richie Incognito (calf), linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (concussion), safety Roderic Teamer (ankle) and quarterback Marcus Mariota (quad) will all miss the game.
Defensive tackle Darius Philon suffered a knee injury in practice on Thursday and is questionable. Defensive end Carl Nassib got in limited practice sessions Thursday and Friday with pectoral and toe injuries and also is questionable.
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is questionable, but intends to play through a hamstring injury, according to Gruden.
“He’s one of our toughest players,” Gruden said of Ngakoue, who has practiced in a limited capacity all week with a heavily-taped right leg and what appears to be some sort of brace. “ He’s a team captain, almost unanimously selected. That says a lot, but he wants to win. He knows we got to have him to win. And I admire these players that go to extreme measures to do what they have to do to get ready to play mentally and physically, and he’s at the top of the chart when it comes to that.”
Gruden was asked Friday why he believes Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to succeed at the highest levels and win games despite being written off by many analysts on several occasions over the last few years, particularly after a major elbow surgery two years ago.
He didn’t particularly care for the premise.
“Who wrote him off?” Gruden snapped. “I mean write those names down. I’d like to know who wrote him off. I mean really, who wrote him off? Why would you write him off? I don’t know why you’d write him off. He’s still a helluva player, great competitor and he loves the big moments. I’m not going to sit here and argue with you over it, but there’s a lot of people making statements that are just ridiculous.”
Roethlisberger accepted a pay cut in order to remain as the Steelers quarterback in 2021.
Ignore the noise
The Raiders expect to face one of the most raucous, hostile road environments they have endured in some time when the game kicks off Sunday after playing in front of reduced capacity and even empty stadiums last year.
Gruden hopes his team is prepared after struggling with some issues at the line of scrimmage in the friendly confines of Allegiant Stadium last week.
“We know it’s going to be loud,” he said. “Hopefully we’re ready for it. We practiced in the noise all week and I know this” We’ve got to eliminate the false starts and pre snap penalties. I don’t care if we play at home or away, that was ridiculous last week. We’ve got to play better.”
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Adam Hill Las Vegas Review-Journal