Raiders cornerback Lee to start against Miami
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP)
Oakland cornerback Pat Lee is no stranger to coming off the bench in emergency situations.
Now he's being asked to do the same for the Raiders - albeit on a significantly smaller stage.
Starter Ron Bartell is out indefinitely after suffering a fractured scapula in Oakland's season-opening loss to San Diego, leaving Lee to take over for the Raiders' Week 2 game in Miami.
''That's what backup guys prepare for,'' Lee said Thursday. ''I've been playing all my life and it's not a big deal to go in when somebody else goes down because that's what we do. That's why we're here.''
The fifth-year veteran has made just one other start in his career but that was as a nickel back. He came off the field shortly after the first series and returned only when the Packers needed extra defensive backs.
This time Lee will be playing the entire game, no matter what package the Raiders are in.
Not that it should make a difference, according to Shawntae Spencer, Oakland's other starting cornerback.
''Whether you start the game or you're in the game, you're in the game,'' Spencer said. ''It's all game-time experience to me. You saw that Monday night. He came in, he was real comfortable and he played very, very well. It's not one of those things where we have to get in his ear. He's been around.''
Bartell, signed as a free agent to be the Raiders' top cornerback after the team cut high-priced starters Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson, was injured while making a tackle on San Diego wide receiver Malcolm Floyd. He stayed in the game for one play before heading to the locker room to get checked out.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Wednesday that Bartell had sustained a fractured scapula, though it doesn't appear surgery will be necessary.
No timetable has been set for Bartell's return. In the meantime, Lee will get all the work at left cornerback.
Spencer noted Lee's size and said the 28-year-old defensive back brings a little more physical presence to the Raiders secondary.
''He's a big corner, man,'' Spencer said. ''He's 205, somewhere in there, and tackles well. I know the staff is very comfortable with him being in there, playing all the calls. I know they've got total confidence in him.''
Of course, it helps playing a Miami team that has a rookie starting quarterback.
The Raiders insist they won't have to alter their coverages to accommodate Lee.
''We expect him to continue to grow,'' Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. ''He did some good things when he came in. Pat's a pro and we expect that of him, and he expects that of himself.''
NOTES: Allen said WR Jacoby Ford, who underwent foot surgery on Tuesday, is likely done for the season. ''We haven't done anything yet but there's probably a strong possibility that he'll go to (injured reserve),'' Allen said. ... Middle linebacker Rolando McClain returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday with a sore ankle.
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