By Steve Corkran
Sunday, July 29th, 2012 at 2:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen broke from his busy day on the eve of training camp to speak with the media for the first time since the conclusion of offseason workouts.
In a bit, I shall post the entire transcript of the 18-minute, question-and-answer session. For now, here are some tidbits culled from the informative sit-down.
– All 89 players under contract reported to camp on time and are ready to hit the ground running Monday, when the first practice commences.
That means rookie wide receiver Juron Criner is here on the heels of his signing a four-year contract. It also means that recent signees DeAundre Muhammad and Chad Gilgore also made it here in time.
Allen said he doesn’t expect to fill the final roster spot right away. He prefers leaving it open for when there’s a need during camp.
– Wide receiver Denarius Moore and center Stefen Wisniewski are slated to practice Monday, as projected in June. Both missed some or all of the offseason workouts with injuries.
Allen said the players went through a conditioning test and physicals earlier today. However, he hasn’t received the results from the training staff yet, so he isn’t sure if there is any candidate for the physically unable to perform list.
– Allen said the Raiders are content to stick with the running backs they have on their roster for now. So, all that talk about the Raiders signing veteran back Cedric Benson can be placed on hold for now.
– The recent resignation of assistant offensive line coach Steve Wisniewski caught Allen by “surprise,” he said. Allen added that the move was totally Wisniewski’s because of undisclosed personal reasons.
Allen and his staff contemplated whether to hire a replacement for Wisniewski. For now, they are content sticking with line coach Frank Pollack.
– Every team gets the benefit of having an NFL officiating crew work practice at training camp for three days. Beyond that, Allen said he doesn’t have any plan to bring in local officials for some extra help.
Former coach Hue Jackson made it a practice to have local officials presiding over every practice throughout the season.
– Allen said he is a proponent of having his defenders wrap up ballcarriers and keeping them off the ground as much as possible. However, he added, there will be times when the practices are a bit more lively than the norm.
– There is a premium on making the most of every practice, Allen said, because of the guidelines set forth in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
In part, teams are required to give players one day off each week, five days off before the final exhibition game and subject them to only one padded practice per day.
– Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon is in Napa for an early look at the Raiders. You can find an interview of Gannon with Jeanette Thompson Raiders.com.
Gannon said in a Tweet earlier this week that he has not met with quarterback Terrelle Pryor, as the two planned, and that Pryor has to have “an exceptional camp to beat out (Matt) Leinart.”
– Allen pretty much stuck with the same five offensive linemen during the offseason workouts open to the media. He said that hopefuls such as Joseph Barksdale and Tony Bergstrom likely will get some opportunities to work with the first-team offense during training camp.
The Raiders appear set with Jared Veldheer at left offensive tackle, Wisniewski at center and Mike Brisiel at right guard. Bergstrom is battling Cooper Carlisle for the left guard spot and Barksdale is competing against Khalif Barnes for the right offensive tackle position.
– In years past, the San Diego Chargers held out star running back LaDainian Tomlinson from all of their exhibition games. Allen said he won’t go that route with running back Darren McFadden, who missed most of the final 10 games with a severe foot sprain last season.
– The trade of veteran wide receiver Louis Murphy came about as a result of the emergence of youngsters Rod Streater and Duke Calhoun, among others, during offseason workouts, Allen said.