ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Try and keep up.
Menelik Watson suffered a groin injury in the Oakland Raiders' season opener at the New Orleans Saints and was replaced by Matt McCants, who had his left knee rolled up on in the same game and had to be helped off the field.
Then Donald Penn flipped over to right tackle from left tackle to finish out the game.
A week later, Austin Howard, who lost out to Watson in a training camp battle for the right tackle spot and injured his right ankle in the preseason finale, started at right tackle in Oakland’s home opener against the Atlanta Falcons. And despite re-aggravating the ankle in the game, Howard played every snap.
But with Howard in a walking boot last week, Watson’s groin had healed enough that he could regain his starting gig at the Tennessee Titans, and he played well … until straining a calf muscle and leaving the game.
That opened the door for rookie seventh-round draft pick Vadal Alexander to finish out the game with 44 snaps at right tackle.
Yes, through three games, five different players have been at right tackle for the Raiders and the offense, well, it has not suffered nearly as much as you would think.
“So we’ve played them all over there and they’ve done a good job,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “They’ve done a good job. We gave up one sack on the day, really, in my mind, one on the year.”
The only other “sack” of Derek Carr came on a play in which he ran out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage.
“I think they’re doing a good, solid job up front,” Del Rio said.
Per Pro Football Reference, Alexander had an overall grade of 73.9 and did not allow a single pressure in 25 pass-block snaps.
But on the other side, Penn’s overall grade of 35.5 after allowing six QB pressures in 36 pass-block snaps was his lowest as a member of the Raiders, the lowest on the team, and had him ranked 60th among offensive tackles in the league entering this week.
Still, PFF has the Raiders’ offensive line pitching a shutout in sacks allowed, with just two quarterback hits and 27 hurries in 124 pass plays. As such, the unit is ranked 10th in the NFL in pass-blocking efficiency.
And behind this banged-up line, the Raiders still have the No. 2 overall offense in the league and the No. 2-ranked rushing attack.