Offensive Lineman Kelechi Osemele and Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice
While Vadal Alexander didn't really get his feet wet in a regular season game until Sunday's win over the Tennessee Titans, the rookie guard made sure he stayed in rhythm, even when he was watching his teammates from the sideline.
"I'm the type of guy who always stays in the game, so I can always get a rhythm, watching Menelik [Watson], or the guy that I will be going against" explained Alexander. "I use it to get a rhythm for myself, visually, so when I go in there I already know what to expect in a way, but it's always nice to get a rhythm on the offensive line, because you can get a feel for things."
The dynamic lineman was certainly able to get a feel for things at Nissan Stadium, entering the game at right tackle after Watson was forced to leave early with a lower leg injury, playing 44 snaps in Watson's stead en route to the 17-10 Week 3 win.
The offensive line didn't miss a beat with the rookie inserted on the right side, allowing just one sack of quarterback Derek Carr, and springing the running game for over 100 yards yet again.
"He [Alexander] really did a nice job," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said earlier this week. "He graded out very well. He went in played good football for us yesterday."
For the most part, Alexander was also pleased with how he graded out in his first extended run during the regular season, but he was also quick to note that there are multiple facets of his game that he needs to improve on.
"I'm happy with my performance, but there's always things you can work on," Alexander explained. "I think I was consistent, and I went in there, and I did my job well, but I want to go out there and be even better. There's things I can improve on, on in the run and the pass game, but I thought I did well overall, but I'm looking forward to being better in the future."
After a slew of injuries hit the offensive line, Alexander was the fourth different player to take snaps at right tackle, and the fifth if you include Donald Penn shifting over from his usual spot on the left side of the line, but regardless of the combination of players, through three weeks, the line has remained stout.
"This group is full of talent, man," Alexander said. "The offensive line we have here is guys who can handle their job, and handle their business, and everybody in the room is talented, that's why it's never skipped a beat, whoever is in there."
Also key to that success? The guiding hand of offensive line coach Mike Tice.
"Obviously Coach Tice is a legend," Alexander said. "He's been around the league for many years. He knows exactly what he's talking about, and he's gotten us ready for anything that happens. He always has confidence in whoever's going in. It's a credit to him for coaching us up, and getting us ready."
S – Nate Allen – Quad – Limited
T – Austin Howard – Ankle – Did not participate
C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Did not participate
RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Did not participate
T – Matt McCants – Knee – Limited
T – Menelik Watson – Calif – Did not participate
-Prior to Wednesday's practice, the Raiders made a pair of transactions, elevating guard Denver Kirkland to the active roster, and signing linebacker Darnell Sankey to the practice squad.
-The team also signed defensive tackle Demetrius Cherry to practice squad Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoon he made his practice debut with the rest of his teammates.
-After missing the past two weeks recovering from injury, tackle Matt McCants returned to practice Wednesday, but fellow offensive lineman Austin Howard was still unable to go during the afternoon session.
-In other pertinent news to the offensive line, starting center Rodney Hudson also missed Wednesday's practice with a knee ailment, and Menelik Watson was also held out of the day's work.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio talks about Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.
"I was with Steve in Carolina in '02. He's been competing his butt off ever since. He's a great competitor. He's done an unbelievable job of bouncing back from his injury. He's still got his explosiveness. It looks like he's playing at a high level, so we look forward to that challenge. He's a good football player."
Quarterback Derek Carr talks about practicing against cornerback David Amerson.
"Every throw you make against David [Amerson] is going to be contested. He's not going to completely whiff and completely leave someone wide open. If he does, it's probably because he slipped to be honest. Every throw that's thrown against that guy, he is there."
After beginning his career in Baltimore, Sunday's contest is going to be an emotional one for G/T Kelechi Osemele.
"Yeah, it's definitely going to be an emotional day. Guys that were your teammate you're going to be competing against for the first time ever. That's going to be a different twist. It's definitely going to be a passionate day for me. It's a lot of mixed feelings going on at that time in that stadium."
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