RAIDERS

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Sports -

Paul Guen­ther,” Gru­den said. “There’s not a bet­ter friend that I have than Paul Guen­ther. We’re go­ing to ar­gue and jaw, prob­a­bly tonight, deep into the night over a lot of things. I’ll see if we can (get) video footage for you.”

The of­fense is deal­ing with its own woes as rookie left tackle Kolton Miller has been in and out of the lineup with a knee in­jury, left guard Kelechi Osemele re-in­jured his knee af­ter miss­ing three games, backup left guard Jon Feli­ciano is deal­ing with a rib in­jury and rookie right tackle Bran­don Parker has strug­gled since tak­ing over for the in­jured Don­ald Penn.

The sit­u­a­tion got so bad when Miller was forced to leave that Osemele had to move to left tackle af­ter not prac­tic­ing there all sea­son.

Osemele and Miller are be­ing eval­u­ated and could miss time so the Raiders brought back for­mer draft pick David Sharpe on Fri­day to take the place of tackle T.J. Clem­mings, who is on in­jured re­serve.

Oak­land al­lowed eight sacks, and Gru­den pulled Carr to pro­tect his health.

“Last night, I was con­cerned,” he said. “Last night, we didn’t just have a cou­ple of in­juries, we were dec­i­mated and had guys play­ing po­si­tions that they had never re­ally prac­ticed. That was un­com­mon for any game I’ve ever called and I’ve called a lot of games. I’ve broad­cast some games and I haven’t seen that.”

Even the rookie punter is strug­gling. Oak­land used a fifth-round pick on Johnny Townsend, who has strug­gled all sea­son. His 25-yard punt two weeks ago set up In­di­anapo­lis’ go-ahead score, and he had a 23-yarder against San Fran­cisco.

Townsend is last in the NFL in gross punt­ing av­er­age (41.9 yards) and has the sec­ond-low­est per­cent­age of punts downed in­side the 20 (18.8 per­cent).

“I think he’s over­think­ing some things a lit­tle bit,” Gru­den said. “Di­rec­tional punt­ing, putting the ball be­tween the num­bers to the side­line to the right, to the left, get­ting it off quicker, what­ever it may be. I make no ex­cuses for Townsend, but I will say this, I have seen him bomb it. I have seen him be a dif­fer­ence maker, and I am con­fi­dent it’s in our near fu­ture.”

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