Taiwan Jones has gotten nowhere fast.
Former Washington receiver Marcel Reece has excelled out of the backfield doing just about everything but running the ball.
Together, Jones and Reece form an unlikely tandem for the Raiders at running back when they visit the Baltimore Ravens today at M&T Bank Stadium.
Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson each spent the day in protective boots, nursing high right-ankle sprains. Coach Dennis Allen hasn’t ruled them out, but the Raiders are making plans to play without them.
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“We’ll play to the strengths of the backs we’re going to use,” offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said.
Rather than bring in a running back for a tryout Tuesday, Allen said they liked their in-house candidates – which could also include practice squad player Jeremy Stewart, who was promoted on Saturday.
The Raiders also activated cornerback Ron Bartell from short-term injured reserve. To make room on the 53-man roster the Raiders waived cornerback Pat Lee and placed cornerback Shawntae Spencer on season-ending injured reserve.
Bartell had been out since breaking his left shoulder blade in the season opener. Lee took his place in the starting lineup the past seven games.
For Jones, the second-year player out of Eastern Washington University, it represents an opportunity to get out of the starting blocks.
“I’m definitely excited. There’s an opportunity for me to extend my role on the team,” said Jones, who helped lead EWU to the FCS national championship in 2010. “I’m getting the opportunity so I want to make the most of it.”
At 6-foot, 197 pounds, Jones may be the fastest player on the Raiders, who used a fourth-round draft pick on him in 2011 in large part because he ran a 4.3-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Cornerback Michael Huff says he has more speed than either Darrius Heyward-Bey or Jacoby Ford, wide receivers known for their world-class speed.
“You can’t tell how fast he’s running until you’re up on him,” Huff said. “By then he’s out-run your angle and it’s really too late.”
Jones has been slowed by hamstring, rib and knee injuries that have cropped up periodically, plus ball-security issues that were cited by both Allen and Knapp.
Originally a defensive back in college, Jones moved to running back and gained 2,955 yards on 383 carries and scored 29 touchdowns at EWU.
The 4-year-old son of Raiders defensive line coach Terrell Williams has died. The team said Tyson Williams died Friday at Oakland Children’s Hospital, days after celebrating his birthday. The boy became unexpectedly ill this month, but the team did not elaborate on his illness. ... Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders said he plans to contest the $15,000 fine he received for faking an injury to save his team a timeout against the Bengals. ... The Giants activated Will Hill and put cornerback Michael Coe on injured reserve. Hill is eligible to play today. He had returned to practice this week after serving a four-game suspension for violating the policy on performance-enhancing substances.