by Levi Damien
The Raiders returned to practice Monday following their bye week. Now they begin preparing for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. They will do it while Michael Huff continues to start at cornerback for the injured Shawntae Spencer.
Spencer went out in week two with a sprained foot. That was after the team had lost the other starter, Ron Bartell to a broken shoulder blade. With both starting corners out, Michael Huff stepped in as a starter at corner with Pat Lee starting on the other side and Joselio Hanson manning the slot. Matt Giordano has started at free safety.
Bartell was placed on partial season injured reserve and can't return to practice until October 27. The hope was that Spencer could return sooner which would allow Huff to move back to free safety where he belongs. But Dennis Allen said today that Spencer is not only not back practicing but he is still in a walking boot. That sets back the optimistic timetable for his return a couple weeks though Allen told media present that he Spencer was on schedule.
"I's really about what we expected," said Allen. "We're hoping he's out of the boot soon and I'm hopeful that the process speeds up once he gets out of the boot."
This will be another tough week for Huff who faced Ben Roethlisberger in his first start at corner, Peyton Manning last week, and Matt Ryan next week. Or as Huff says, he "can't ease into (playing cornerback)... I get all Hall of Famers"
Dennis Allen is giving Huff a pass for some of his mistakes.
"Right now it's not fair to totally evaluate Huff because we've had to force him into a role that we didn't really anticipate at the beginning of the season. Obviously there's a lot of improvement that has to be made on all of our parts but those guys know where they need to improve."
Also not practicing and deemed week to week by Allen are Khalif Barnes (groin) and tight end Richard Gordon (hamstring).