ALAMEDA – The Raiders are expected to make a switch at right tackle. Menelik Watson should start Saturday’s home game against Indianapolis, taking over for Austin Howard on that flank.
Watson has recently been a sixth lineman in jumbo packages, while Howard has played virtually every snap at right tackle over nine consecutive starts. Howard has 10 starts in 11 games played this season.
Watson has earned a chance to take more snaps. It's starting spot earned, one the Raiders hope will help realize vast potential.
The Raiders have great depth on the AFC’s finest offensive line, with three Pro Bowlers from left tackle to center and a second alternate in right guard Gabe Jackson.
Howard has had good moments on the right side despite dealing with ankle issues all season long. He originally got hurt in the preseason finale, and the ailing joint took more punishment in a Week 2 start where the Raiders were incredibly thin at right tackle.
Howard has done significant work to stay game ready despite his ailments and has played admirably during a stretch were the Raiders won a ton of games.
Watson is incredibly strong and athletic, and has been playing well after suffering groin and calf injuries early this season. Those ailments took a starting spot he earned with a solid training camp and preseason, but he has it back late in the season thanks to consistency and hard work.
The right tackle spot has been filled by many due to an injury plague at the position. Watson, Howard, Vadal Alexander, the since-released Matt McCants and even left tackle Donald Penn have taken snaps at right tackle in 2016.