Bergstrom finally finds a home on the offensive line


ALAMEDA – Second-year offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom finally has a home, at left guard, after spending most of his rookie season bouncing around from guard to offensive tackle, from the left side of the line to the right, sometimes all in one day.
Bergstrom was Oakland’s top draft pick in 2012, selected late in the third round. With veterans entrenched at guard and tackle, Bergstrom worked at multiple positions in an attempt to become more versatile and thereby more valuable as a backup.
Now that veteran Cooper Carlisle is gone, Bergstrom is the leading candidate to start at left guard, though he is being pushed by fellow second-year player Lucas Nix.
Bergstrom said it’s “nice” knowing where’s he’s going to line up each day. He also finds comfort in the playing time he received as a backup last season.
“I was going in last year just hoping not to screw up,” Bergstrom said Tuesday. “This year, the idea is going in with a little more confidence, ready to play. That’s kind of the next step after being able to play a little bit. So, it was a big opportunity last year.”
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said the starting spot at left guard, as is the case with all positions, is open to competition. However, it’s Bergstrom that is spending a majority of the time with the first-team offensive line right now.
“That’s a big deal, a big motivating factor, coming in knowing there’s a spot that’s open and being competed for,” Bergstrom said. “That’s kind of the nice thing about it this year, with that goal in mind, as opposed to coming in and telling you ‘Well, you might need to play a little tackle, so be ready for that.’. It’s ‘know the guard and be ready for guard.’ ”


Pryor likes his progress


General manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen anointed Matt Flynn the presumptive starting quarterback, if for no other reason that he is the Raiders most-seasoned option.
Even so, McKenzie and Allen are quick to point out that Flynn is the leading candidate to replace traded veteran Carson Palmer only as of now. They aren’t ruling out the prospect of third-year player Terrelle Pryor or rookie Tyler Wilson bypassing Flynn.
Few people give Pryor a legitimate shot at making the huge leap from third-stringer to starter in one season. Pryor said Tuesday that he doesn’t get caught up in the speculation.
“That talk is nonsense,” Pryor said. “It doesn’t matter right now, as long as we’re helping each other, we’re getting better and building team chemistry. … Right now, not knowing who the starting quarterback is going to be and who’s getting talked about, that’s the thing that’s not very important.”
Flynn arrived via trade with the Seattle Seahawks on the day the Raiders traded Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals. \
He started only two games in his first five NFL seasons, four with the Green Bay Packers, when McKenzie was in the front office. Pryor has started only one game during his two NFL seasons.
All three candidates are hopeful of taking over for Palmer and carving out a long-term role.
Pryor is a noted hard worker who rarely takes a day off. To that end, his work day routinely lasts well beyond when others call it a day.
“It’s all about how much you study, and I study a good bit, about two hours a night after going home,” Pryor said.
He struggled completing passes Tuesday during the first practice of the Raiders three-day mini camp, but he walked away pleased with the way he commanded the huddle, the protection calls and his footwork.


Raiders sign more than half their 2013 draft class


The Raiders on Thursday signed six of their 10 selections in the 2013 NFL draft.
Tight ends Nick Kasa and Mychal Rivera, running back Latavius Murray, wide receiver Brice Butler, defensive tackle Stacy McGee and defensive end David Bass now are under contract long-term.
Still unsigned are the Raiders first four selections: cornerback D.J. Hayden, offensive tackle Menelik Watson, linebacker Sio Moore and quarterback Tyler Wilson.
It’s expected that the four unsigned draftees will be under contract before the Raiders begin training camp in Napa in late July.


Kluwe chooses silver and black over White House


ALAMEDA – Veteran punter Chris Kluwe is hopeful of catching on with the Raiders this season. If he isn’t successful, it won’t be for lack of effort or dedication.
Kluwe turned down an invitation to attend a reception at the White House on June 13th in honor of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Month so that he could participate in the Raiders mini camp.
Kluwe informed President Obama by letter late last month.
“It is with deep regret that I must decline your invitation to attend the Reception at the White House for LGBT Pride Month on June 13th. I would really, really, really like to be there,” Kluwe wrote in response to his invitation.
“But unfortunately, not even the President of the United States is allowed to supersede an NFL mandatory mini-camp practice (at least insomuch as I can understand the new CBA, though I could possibly be mistaken), and as a current member of the Oakland Raiders, I owe it to both my teammates and my coaches to be fully prepared for the upcoming season.”
When asked about it Monday, Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Kluwe is making a sound decision.
“His job is to really focus in on making our football team,” Allen said. “That needs to be the biggest focus that he has right now. Right now, he’s of the same mind-set.”
Kluwe gained notoriety for being outspoken on political issues during his eight-year career with the Minnesota Vikings.
Some questioned his dedication to his profession in the past. The same can’t be said now in light of Kluwe’s recent decision to choose offseason practices over an invitation to the White House.