Raiders prepping for Alexander-led Seahawks

Oakland looking to pad its lead in AFC West with trip to Pacific Northwest to play struggling Seahawks

When the Raiders make their way to Husky Stadium this weekend, they'll be facing a Seahawks team that is surrounded by a quarterback controversy in addition to being without its top running back. That means Oakland's defense will probably get a good long look at running back Shaun Alexander, who just might be Seattle's biggest threat on offense these days. Alexander says the Raiders are the class of the AFC, if not the entire league. ‘'We all know Oakland's definitely the best team in football right now,'' Alexander said. ‘'The biggest thing I got from watching the Raiders is they play as a team. Everybody's jumping on and everybody's having a good time playing. When you get teams that get into that rhythm … there are no easy days. There are no easy carries. So I'm going to expect that when they come out here. We'll just see what happens when the game starts.'' During his NFL career Watters has accounted for 649 yards rushing , 657 yards receiving and three touchdowns in nine games against the Raiders. But Watters hasn't played since suffering a crack in his right shoulder after getting blasted by Oakland defensive tackle Grady Jackson early in the first quarter during the Raiders 38-14 win over Seattle on Sept. 30. That shoved Alexander, a second-year player out of Alabama, into a starting role. He responded nicely by rushing for a career-high 176 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Jacksonville, then burned Denver the following week for 142 yards and a pair of scores in another Seattle victory But in the two games since Alexander has managed just 147 yards and one touchdown combined -- both of them games Seattle wound up losing -- but Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said it's important his team keep a close eye on the Seahawks' running back. ‘'He's a very good back who's playing with a lot more confidence,'' Gruden said Wednesday. ‘'The last three or four weeks he has run the ball for big yardage. (Seattle does) a great job of scheming you on offense with a lot of different movements, formations, things of that nature. (Alexander) looks a little like he did in Alabama again, comfortable.'' The Raiders could be without starting cornerback Charles Woodson for the game. Woodson suffered a turf-toe injury against Denver this past Monday and was held out of practice Wednesday, the first time in his NFL career that Woodson has missed a practice due to injury. ‘'It doesn't look good to me personally,'' Gruden said. ‘'That's a very difficult thing for anyone, let alone a guy at that position. Am I concerned? Yeah I'm concerned.'' NOTES, ETC. Running back Tyrone Wheatley returned to practice on a very limited basis Wednesday, though the Raiders are still listing him as questionable to play against Seattle … Oakland also got some good news on safety Anthony Dorsett. Dorsett injured his left knee against Denver and had an MRI test Monday. Results of the test were negative and Dorsett was able to practice with the rest of the team Wednesday … Fullback Jon Ritchie was fined $2500 by the NFL for a chop block he threw during the second quarter of the Raiders win over Philadelphia on Oct. 28. No word on whether Ritchie would appeal the fine … Defensive back Eric Johnson, who suffered a broken fibula in the Monday night win over Denver, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday after undergoing surgery. Johnson had four screws inserted near his left ankle during the 45-minute procedure at Fremont Surgery Center. The operation was performed by team doctors Warren King and Warren Strudwick … Johnson's injury created an opening on the Raiders' 53-man roster, so the team elevated defensive Brandon Jennings from the practice squad. The domino effect continued, with Oakland re-signing Derek Combs to the practice squad to take Jennings' spot. INJURY REPORT Raiders: Quarterback Bobby Hoying (elbow) out, defensive back Eric Johnson (leg) out, linebacker Elijah Alexander (knee) questionable, guard Mo Collins (leg) questionable, safety Anthony Dorsett (knee) questionable, wide receiver David Dunn (quadriceps) questionable, fullback Jon Ritchie (groin) questionable, running back Tyrone Wheatley (knee) questionable, guard Steve Wisniewski (ankle) questionable, cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) questionable, defensive end Tony Bryant (hip) probable, running back Randy Jordan (toe) probable, tackle Barry Sims (foot) probable, defensive end Josh Taves (knee) probable. Seahawks: Running back Ricky Watters (shoulder) out, defensive tackle John Randle (knee) questionable, safety Marcus Robertson (hamstring) questionable, tight end Russell Stewart (ankle) probable.

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