Latavius Murray's return to the practice field this week has garnered most of the headlines in regards to the Silver and Black, and understandably so; No. 28 is a Pro Bowl running back who ran for over 1,000 yards last season for the Oakland Raiders.
However, maybe a little more under the radar, tackle Menelik Watson was also back on the field this week for the first time since leaving the team's Week 3 win over the Tennessee Titans early due to injury.
"It does feel good to be out there," said Watson. "It's a blessing to be out there with your teammates, to feel like you're contributing in some way."
Watson was a limited participant in practice throughout the week, and is officially listed as questionable heading into Sunday's game at EverBank Field, and while it's unknown if the fourth-year lineman will suit up in Jacksonville, he's supremely confident in the Raiders offensive line, regardless of the personnel.
"It doesn't matter," Watsons said. "We told you at the beginning of OTAs [Organized Team Activities] that we were a deep unit. We all love each other. We all take care of each other. We all help each other. We help critique each other. [Offensive line] Coach [Mike] Tice is a great coach, the greatest coach I've had to date. He's done a great job with everyone, getting the rookies ready, and everyone's just done a great job of looking out for each other."
The offensive line has arguably been the team's most consistent position group at this juncture in the regular season, and while the personnel along the line has seemingly changed on a week-to-week basis, Watson thinks that the reason the transitions have been as smooth as they have been is simple.
The group just wants to win.
"It's about winning," Watson said. "If we all win, then we all have success. That's the best part about it. That's just our group. That's who we are. That's who we've always been. That's who we've been from OTAs. That's who we are, and that's what will continue. The NFL season is like that. Things happen. Everyone always has to be ready, always have to be on point. Everyone always has to be in their playbook, because you never know what's going to happen."
As the season has worn on, the Raiders offensive line has garnered a lot of praise league-wide, but as nice as it is to hear about the accolades of the group, Watson says there is still so much in front of them that they want to accomplish.
"We're not great yet," Watson explained. "We have a lot of work to do. A great line would lead the league in statistical categories all year. We're not great yet, but we're working on it. I think we strive for perfection every day. Coach Tice demands that out of us. We demand that out of each other, and at the same time, we all love each other. We all take care of each other. We're brothers, and we're family, so that's the biggest thing. If you don't have that togetherness, and that family values inside the room, it's not really going to help for long-term success."
G/T Vadal Alexander – Ankle – Did not participate – Doubtful
G/C – Jon Feliciano – Calf – Limited – Questionable
C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Limited – Questionable
G – Gabe Jackson – Knee – Limited – Questionable
RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Limited – Questionable
S – Brynden Trawick – Shoulder – Limited – Questionable
T – Menelik Watson – Calf – Limited – Questionable
-Following the team's Fast Friday session, Head Coach Jack Del Rio officially deemed running back Latavius Murray questionable for Sunday's matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Raiders feature back has missed the past two games as he recovered from a toe injury.
-Murray is officially questionable for the matchup with the Jaguars, as are the other seven players listed on the Week 7 injury report, excluding offensive lineman Vadal Alexander who is officially doubtful.
Head Coach Del Rio discussing Latavius Murray's first week back at practice:
"I thought he had a good week of practice. It was good to have him back."
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