Friday, September 14, 2012
Raiders C Stefen Wisniewski to start
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland center Stefen Wisniewski has no doubt that running the ball early and effectively is critical if the Raiders are to avoid going 0-2 for the first time since 2007.
Getting the second-year offensive lineman back on the field should help.
Coach Dennis Allen announced Friday that Wisniewski -- who suited up but did not play in the team's season-opening loss to San Diego -- will be in the lineup for Sunday's game in Miami.
That's good news for an Oakland offense that was held to 45 yards rushing in its Week 1 defeat, including just 32 from running back Darren McFadden.
"We really kind of build our offense around being able to run the ball, then come play-action and pass off of that," Wisniewski said. "If you get rid of the run, you become one-dimensional and that's what kind of happened in the second half last game. We were just throwing the ball all the time and that's not what we want to do."
Wisniewski hasn't played in a game of any sort since injuring his calf on the first drive of the Raiders' first preseason game, though no one can accuse him of taking it easy.
After all, the former Penn State standout who emerged as one of Oakland's best linemen played most of his rookie season in 2011 with a torn labrum.
A second-round pick a year ago, Wisniewski doesn't think he'll have any problems picking up where he left off. He spent time practicing with the Raiders first-team offense last week and again split reps in practice with Alex Parsons this week before being cleared to start.
"Part of it is just mentally being able to make calls real fast with defenses moving around," Wisniewski said. "Part of it is getting your fits, working with your guards. When you miss reps working with people next to you it takes a little while to get those fits quite right again."
Wisniewski will be making his second career start at center after spending almost all of his rookie season at left guard.
Allen said he delayed in naming a starter because he wanted to see how Wisniewski held up with the increased work in practice with the starting offense. Parsons is also nursing a sore shoulder.
"I just wanted to see how the week played out, how Alex responded with his shoulder, how Wiz responded to being in there and getting the practice reps with the first group," Allen said. "I was pleased with what I saw. I think (Wisniewski) is prepared and ready to go."
The Raiders are also holding out hope that Jon Condo will be cleared to play after the Pro Bowl long-snapper suffered a concussion against San Diego.
Condo has spent the week going through a battery of tests and joined the team on its flight to Miami.
"All the tests that he's done so far he's passed," Allen said. "There are just a couple more things we want to make sure of before we put him in a game. It's part of the process."
If Condo is unable to play, the Raiders will promote rookie Nick Guess from their practice squad. Guess was signed earlier this week after backup long-snapper Travis Goethel botched two snaps to punter Shane Lechler, who couldn't get a kick off on either try. A third attempt was blocked.
NotesLB Rolando McClain (ankle), WR Juron Criner (ankle) and RB Taiwan Jones (ribs) are listed as questionable on the injury report.