By Steve Corkran
Monday, May 20th, 2013 at 12:38 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen has to be thrilled with the way things went Monday, if for no other reason than he had 100 percent attendance among the players eligible to attend the offseason practice.
Even wide receiver/kick returner Josh Cribbs and linebacker Miles Burris were on the field, though they still are recovering from injuries and not cleared to participate.
Quarterback Kyle Padron and running back Deonte Williams were the only two players not here, and they aren’t here only because they aren’t allowed to until their college classes graduate. Allen said he expects both players to miss most of the OTAs.
Allen pegged attendance at 98 percent during offseason workouts, which qualifies as nothing short of outstanding.
Heck, Allen even convinced kicker Sebastian Janikowski to attend. Janikowski routinely skipped all but the mandatory mini camp in recent seasons.
“That just goes to show the type of guys that we’re bringing into the program here,” Allen said. “These guys have done a great job all the way throughout the offseason program.”
Allen said he spoke with Janikowski awhile back and laid out a plan for the offseason.
The best thing, Allen said, is Janikowski “wanted to do it.”
– Offensive linemen Jared Veldheer, Tony Bergstron, Stefen Wisniewsk, Mike Brisiel and Khalif Barnes, from left to right, worked with the first-team offense.
That portends Bergstrom getting the first crack at replacing veteran Cooper Carlisle at left guard. Bergstrom played only sparingly last season as a rookie.
Allen said Bergstrom’s skill set lends to his playing guard. Bergstrom worked at guard and offensive tackle last season.
“That was something, when we drafted him, that was kind of our long term vision for what we saw in him that he would be a guard and he’s been a nice fit there at the guard,” Allen said. “So, we’ll see how it plays out through the offseason.”
Allen also said that he intends to “mix and match” guys along the offensive line during upcoming practices in an attempt to find the best five players.
– Brandian Ross now is a safety. We’ll see if that changes if the Raiders are successful in landing Charles Woodson, who now is a safety, too.
Ross played cornerback most of the time for the Raiders last season. However, Allen said, his skill set is a better fit at safety.
The Raiders are in need of a replacement for departed veteran free safety Michael Huff.
“When you bring him in as a corner, you let him go out there and you see how they do,” Allen said. “Their skill set, at the end of the day, dictates that. Guys like Brandian Ross, Brandian Ross can go out there and play corner in this league and be able to hold up, but his skill set probably lends him a little bit more valuable as a safety.”
Ross and Usama Young are candidates to replace Huff, though adding Woodson no doubt would shake up that vision.
– Allen said he is hopeful of being able to sign Woodson, who is scheduled to visit the Raiders on Tuesday.
“We’ll see. I want to do anything we can to help this team get better,” Allen said. “So, we’ll see how that process goes.”
The Raiders reportedly already made an initial offer to Woodson. The 49ers and Denver Broncos are the only two teams that Woodson has met with since he was released by the Green Bay Packers.
– Rookie tight end Nick Kasa (hamstring) and Porter (calf) weren’t able to finish practice today because of their injuries.
– Quarterbacks Tyler Wilson and Matt Flynn looked sharp for most of practice. Their passes were crisp, on time and on target, for the most part.
Third-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor didn’t look near as sharp, though he did make a few nice throws. Pryor’s passes still are too wobbly and off the mark to be considered a legitimate contender for the starting job.
As for Wilson, Allen played the rookie card, meaning he isn’t about to heap much praise on a first-year player for fear of it going to that player’s head.
“He’s looked pretty good,” Allen said. “Obviously this is the first day that we’ve actually been out there and had a chance to go offense versus defense. We still have a long way to go.”
When pressed further, Allen went right back to the rookie slant.
“I know he does some good things,” Allen said. “Obviously, he’s a rookie. And he’s got a long way to go. He’s not the finished product at all.”
– Allen singled out veterans such as running back Darren McFadden, fullback Marcel Reece and defensive end Lamarr Houston as guys he is counting upon to show the younger guys the ropes.
He later added defensive end Andre Carter, who signed with the Raiders midway through last season and was re-signed this offseason.
“That’s one of the big reasons why we brought Andre back is because he does provide that leadership and he’s the type of guy that we’re looking for, that has those characteristics, that loves football, he wants to work, he wants to do anything to help this team win,” Allen said. “So, the more guys that we can get like that, the better we’re going to be.”