OAKLAND – Raiders cornerback Sean Smith really wanted to play Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos. A shoulder injury called that into question.
He tested the injury twice during the practice week, and believed a harness could help him play well. Smith declared himself ready to play on Friday, and hoped to convince coaches to let him play this primetime game.
“Any true competitor would want that spotlight,” Smith said Friday. “At the cornerback position, we have the target on our back. To go out there and hold it down and win in front of our home fans and a national television audience, that’s what you work for.”
The coaching staff didn’t budge. Smith was declared inactive against Denver, giving him two more weeks to heal with a bye between Sunday’s game and a Monday night affair versus Houston in Mexico City.
TJ Carrie will see more snaps in this one as the third cornerback, with DJ Hayden expected to move outside in the base defense and inside in sub packages.
Offensive tackle Menelik Watson is active for the first time since Week 3, though Austin Howard is still expected to start on the right side. Watson and Denver Kirkland should see snaps as extra blockers in certain formations.
The Denver Broncos have cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Kayvon Webster inactive with injury, leaving youth to play with Bradley Roby and Chris Harris Jr. when extra receivers take the field.
In addition to Smith, quarterback Connor Cook, cornerback Dexter McDonald, offensive linemen Matt McCants and Vadal Alexander, tight end Ryan O’Malley and defensive tackle Stacy McGee were ruled inactive. McGee was ruled out earlier in the week.