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Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Porter's concussion also a Raiders' concern

By Paul Gutierrez

As Raider Nation turns its eyes to Terrelle Pryor's concussion, another concussed Raider could have a similar domino effect on the defense.

Cornerback Tracy Porter was injured tackling Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas after a 4-yard reception on the final play of the third quarter Monday night. Porter took a Lamarr Houston knee to the back of the head and, like Pryor, has to clear the NFL-mandated concussion protocol to practice.

Oakland's Tracy Porter
The Raiders may be without Tracy Porter, who suffered a concussion against the Broncos.
If Porter cannot practice and is unavailable to play against Washington on Sunday, the Raiders will have some shuffling to do in the secondary.

“Obviously, if he’s unable to play, yeah, it complicates some things a little bit and we’ll have to move some guys around and put some guys in different positions,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said in his news conference Tuesday.

“This is the National Football League, guys are going to be called on to play multiple positions and fill multiple roles for the football team and they have to be able to perform that duty when they’re called on.”

Porter starts at right cornerback and moves into the slot in Oakland’s nickel defense, with rookie D.J. Hayden coming in to man the right corner. But with Porter out in the fourth quarter, starting left cornerback Mike Jenkins moved to the inside, Hayden stayed on the right and Phillip Adams came off the bench to play on the left.

Hayden endured a rough game -- as did the rest of the Raiders defense against Peyton Manning -- as the No. 12 overall draft pick was responsible for six of the Raiders’ 19 missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.

“He’s still learning,” Allen said of Hayden. “He still has a long way to go. I like the talent, I like the ability. I’d like to see him be more aggressive. I think as the plays begin to come his way and he begins to make a few more plays, I think you’ll see that confidence and aggressiveness come out a little bit more.

“You see it at times, but that’s really the challenge I have for him is to have that confidence in himself and be a little bit more aggressive as a football player.”

The Raiders' pass defense, though, had a rough go of it being aggressive against Manning, who completed 14 of 16 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns and a 145.6 rating ... when the Raiders blitzed him.

And Oakland did not sack him on a blitz, either. That came when Houston simply beat his man.

“If you don’t get to [No.] 18, you’re going to have a long night, like we had tonight,” safety Charles Woodson said of Manning, who completed a career-high 86.5 percent of his passes in the game.

“That’s the focal point when you play the Denver Broncos; you have to get to him. Offensively, you’ve got to sustain drives to try to keep the ball out of his hands. If you don’t do that, then nights like tonight happen.”

Washington brings a different offensive attack with Robert Griffin III under center, but if the Raiders’ secondary remains in transition -- strong safety Tyvon Branch is still out -- Oakland will have more questions than answers if Porter is a no go.

And keep this in mind: the Raiders still have yet to record an interception.