Part of the Bay Area News Group

Watson getting his `baptism by fire’

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 at 4:48 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Filed for print with additional material . . .

The ascension of Menelik Watson to starting left tackle of the Raiders is part desperation and part necessity.

A second-round draft pick out of Florida State, Watson will get what offensive coordinator Greg Olson called a “baptism by fire’’ in the loudest road environment in the NFL when the Raiders visit the Seattle Seahawks Thursday night at CenturyLink Field.

Watson, who played at Saddleback College with Kyle Long, the son of Raider Hall of Fame defensive lineman Howie Long, has been a at the facility before when it was much quieter.

“I spoke to Howie Long and he was telling me about it,’’ Watson said. “It’s a loud venue. I got to see it coming out of junior college on my visit to Washington. It should be interesting.’’

Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Watson, along with quarterback Terrelle Pryor and cornerback D.J. Hayden, will remain in the preseason finale with the second team after most of the starters have departed.

“He hasn’t taken a snap in a game situation and he needs all the work he can get,’’ Allen said.

Watson was considered a raw prospect coming out of the draft because he played only 19 games of football at Saddleback and Florida State, all as a right tackle. He was late to football, originally playing college basketball at Marist College.

A calf injury kept Watson out of all of training camp except for a few drills, during which time he aggravated the injury. He finally got on the field for team sessions last Wednesday.

With Jared Veldheer out following left triceps surgery and veteran Alex Barron getting starts against New Orleans and Chicago, the Seattle game provides the only opportunity to see what Watson can do heading into the regular season opener Sept. 8 at Indianapolis.

“The question is whether or not time is on your side in getting a good evaluation, and the only way we’re going to get that evaluation is to let him play,’’ line coach Tony Sparano said.

Watson has so little experience that Sparano believes the problems associated with a switch from right tackle to left tackle are minimized “because he doesn’t have a history . . his bad habits are easy to break.’’
Having grown up in Manchester, England, as a soccer player before gravitating to basketball and then even dabbling in boxing before being talked into playing football, Watson has uncommon footwork for someone who is 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds.

Because of what Sparano calls “left tackle qualities’’ related to Watson’s athleticism, the Raiders were discussed in the offseason giving him some time on the left side to be a swing tackle who could play on the left side if Veldheer went down and compete to start on the right side.

The process has been accelerated because of Watson’s extended absence and Veldheer’s injury.

“It’s very technical, and things happen a lot quicker on the left,’’ Watson said. “Obviously, it’s the blind side, so you have to be double about your wits.’’

– The Raiders signed Justin Medlock to kick against Seattle and allow Sebastian Janikowski to rest a right calf strain and be ready for the opener on Sept. 8.

Medlock, who played at Mission San Jose High in Fremont and at UCLA, played in 10 days for Carolina last season and was 8-for-12 on field goal attempts. Medlock was a fifth-round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 and has played in the Canadian Football League for Toronto and Hamilton.

“I’ve always said I always wanted to play for a Bay Area team,” Medlock said. “I’ve always been a big Bay Area fan so playing for the Raiders or Niners would be awesome. I’ve always wanted top lay for one of these teams.”

– Four players were removed from the roster to reach the NFL limit of 75. Linebacker Miles Burris was placed on the physically unable to perform list and will be out for at least the first six games of the season.

“Miles is doing a lot better now but we want to see how he continues to get better before we go ahead and activate him,” Allen said. “You only get 53 spots and you have to make sure that you’re making the right decisions. Sometimes those are tough things when you have injured players.

Cornerback Joselio Hanson (groin) and running back Latavius Murray (ankle) were placed on the injured reserve list, meaning neither can play for the Raiders this season. Cornerback Mitchell White was waived.

Hanson had an interception in the Raiders 36-24 preseason loss to Chicago, but came out of the game with an injured and Allen said an MRI determined it to be a “significant’’ groin injury.

Murray, slow to recover from recent arthroscopic surgery on his ankle, remains property of the Raiders and can make another run at the roster starting next off-season. He was a fifth-round draft pick out of Central Florida who had eight carries for 29 yards in the preseason opener against Dallas but didn’t play against New Orleans or Chicago.

He had been expected to compete for the role as Darren McFadden’s backup.

“Right now we have Rashad Jennings and Jeremy Stewart,” Allen said. “Both those guys have done a pretty good job this preseason. It’ll be another opportunity for them on Thursday to go out and prove their worth and we’ll get another evaluation on them.

– Wide receiver Rod Streater has passed all the league-mandated concussion tests, was cleared to practice, and Allen expects him to face Seattle.

– Linebacker Sio Moore has a toe injury which has limited his practice time the past two days, Allen said.

– Sparano said the switch of Lucas Nix to right guard with Tony Bergstrom at left guard was because “the right side’s a little thicker position, a little stronger position, the left side a little more athletic. That’s kind of why we did that. But we’ll see what happens when we get down to Indianapolis.”

– Olson addressing the struggles of Matt Flynn against Chicago: “Some of it’s bad luck. He has a protection error that’s not on Matt Flynn at all where a free hitter comes that’s not Matt Flynn’s error. We have an illegal formation that’s not Matt Flynn’s error that takes away a pass there, so when you get started in a game like that, confidence has to do with it. Maybe his confidence got rattled a little bit early on. A number of factors could have come. But, he has played better, he will play better, we expect him to play better, and he expects it out of himself.”

– Perhaps believing he sounded a bit harsh during his last press session when discussing the maturity level of wide receiver Denarius Moore, Olson wanted to set the record straight before being asked a question.

“(Moore) is doing the things we have asked him to do . . . I have been pleased with Denarius Moore and the way he has approached our training camp and he’ll continue to get better.”

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  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    hwnrdr Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 7:46 am
    Geez…as soon as I posted that last comment, I got logged off…

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    LOl.
    I must have jinxed you Hwnrdr!

    Actually, it’s constantly making me log in today.
    So I think I’ll go to the pub and see if they still sell beer.

  • willy91137

    ENGLANDRAIDER Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 7:57 am
    hwnrdr Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 7:46 am
    Geez…as soon as I posted that last comment, I got logged off…

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    LOl.
    I must have jinxed you Hwnrdr!

    Actually, it’s constantly making me log in today.
    So I think I’ll go to the pub and see if they still sell beer.

    Leave a
    Had the same problem from a week ago Friday and now it’s just fine I would have to login all the time I noticed now I have to refresh it when I go on

  • Raider Fan in Fremont

    hwnrdr Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 7:46 am
    Geez…as soon as I posted that last comment, I got logged off…

    Me too. Apparently WordPress and IBABuzz are collaborating on a software that auto recognizes trolls and bad posts to moderate them. Still in its trial version, that’s why it’s happening to everyone, but eventually they’ll get it to work right and they can lay off all the moderators once and for all.

    If the Raiders super suck, this place is going to get real ugly in here, so Jerry and Becker are just looking ahead. Why do you think Cork bailed. Wants no part of it.

  • willy91137

    Do you know why divorce is so expensive

    because it’s worth it

  • RAIDERMAN99

    during #12’s rookie season I compared smurfette to a poor man’s Steve Smith (Panthers) – ask Thec
    ===============================================
    What’s going on with Thec ?

    Hasn’t dropped in for a while.

    Had some disagreements with Thec about non-football stuff, but I like his RAIDER takes and style.

    Wonder if Brien is in touch with him.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Do you know why divorce is so expensive

    because it’s worth it

    ***

    stick to football, willy

    nobody cares about your personal problems or outlooks on life #pos

  • R8erEduc8er

    Shaugnessy got bit by Cork’s “stud guarantee”. You know, kinda like his “guaranteed win” in the 2011 season finale vs. San Diego.

  • hwnrdr

    Back in…smh!

  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    ENGLANDRAIDER Says:
    Speak for your self.
    I like them big but I’m not into Jersey cows.
    You farmers will do anything.
    ======================================================

    I thought Jersey was an area, and was referring to the girls from that area.
    Wouldn’t accuse anyone here of deviant behavior.
    Not ’till the PM anyway.

  • Raider Fan in Fremont
  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    Oh, it’s an island off France. How’d you guys steal that?

  • DJ Johnny

    Mike Florio is on 670 am right now. He pointed out 3 of the worst teams in 2011… made the playoffs in 2012. He says he’s hesitant to write ANY TEAM off because of that.

    He says everybody thinks worst teams are Jets, Jags and Raiders and he thinks at least one of those teams will surprise everyone and may make playoffs.

    Raiders look even worse since we don’t even know who our qb is gonna be this close to the opener… depleted roster etc.

    That late nite host on 95.7 GUARANTEES Raiders will not win 7 games. He thinks we’ll do well to win 4.

  • RaiderRockstar

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/28/report-graham-harrell-agrees-to-contract-with-jets/

    oh dang. the Jets are beating Reggie to the Packers scraps now!!

    sit on your hands & wait approach works great, eh?

  • RaiderRockstar
  • DJ Johnny

    Rockstar, You didn’t really want Graham Harrell did you?

  • raiderjhawk

    Pryor had 3 years to learn the playbook???????

    Which one?????

  • RaiderRockstar

    @DJG

    No, but making an observation about guys not good enough to be on the Packers coming here and possibly starting..

    I do want Higgins & Morrison back in Oakland though. ASAP!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Pryor had 3 years to learn the playbook???????

    Which one?????

    ***

    @jhawk

    a different one each year.

    2011: suspension, mentor = Jason Campbell. no QB coach
    2012: Knapp & Palmer. coach Flip
    2013: Olson & Flynn. coach Flip

    Whee!!

  • the famous dr robert

    C2E Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 3:11 am
    The Famous Dr Robert Says:
    August 27th, 2013 at 11:08 pm
    Without me, this blog would be like Happy Days without Fonzie.

    Aaaayyyyy.
    ====
    More like Lost in Space without Dr Smith
    ********
    Lol. Zing!

    “Danger Will Robinson!”

    Great show.

  • Ghosttoothepost

    You guys remember the black cop on Beverly Hills Cop?
    “and we’re not going to fall for a banana in the tail pipe”?

    High whiney pitch, nasally?

    Yep Mistic, that’s you.

    95.7 The Game segment at 8am was “The Raiders qb situation is the worst in the NFL”
    Mistic called in and whined about how it just wasn’t fair, how Pryor wasn’t treated right. That they gave him gimmick plays. that it’s not Pryor’s fault.

    They cut him off and said “facts are Pryor has not played against a starting defense, so don’t get too excited” adding he’s slow to learn, and that’s not on the team, that’s on him.

    You sounded like you do here, Mistic.
    Babbling. Whining. And totally missing the mark.

  • the famous dr robert

    Flynn will lead us to victory week 1. And week 2.

  • Ghosttoothepost

    “That late nite host on 95.7 GUARANTEES Raiders will not win 7 games. He thinks we’ll do well to win 4.”

    Rise Guys, in am stated no way in hell the Raiders win even one game.

  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    willy91137 Says:

    Do you know why divorce is so expensive

    because it’s worth it

    ***
    RaiderRockstar Says:

    stick to football, willy

    nobody cares about your personal problems or outlooks on life #pos
    ==================================================

    Don’t listen to him, Willy. He’s still young.

    I thought it was funny.

  • DJ Johnny

    The Pryor mania is very easy to figure out. What was it, 90% of fans in a poll want Pryor to start?

    It’s simple. Every fan base wants a hero and Pryor is the one guy who appears to be doing something.

    He appears right now to be the only guy capable of doing…ANYTHING.

    Flynn showed what he CAN do if he has great wr’s working in a superior system. Raiders do not have what appears to be a superior system right now.

    IF Flynn starts and we lose 42-7 to Indy…talk about a ticked off fan base.

  • DJ Johnny

    Ghosttoothepost Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 8:36 am
    “That late nite host on 95.7 GUARANTEES Raiders will not win 7 games. He thinks we’ll do well to win 4.”

    Rise Guys, in am stated no way in hell the Raiders win even one game.

    Not even ONE GAME? Geez.

  • Marks hair

    what’s the difference between leBron and a lot of players… size, speed and agility combo.. thats it

  • Al_is_theraiders

    nice to read that some people are catching up with football guys that knew flynn/DA/Shrek combination will be a disaster…the sooner this wizard of oz crew gets fired the sooner the raiders can get back to winning.

  • J Hill

    Yeah, I bash the fk out of TA, but I try to be objective and fair when evaluating his performance as HC.

    ——————————————————————————–

    I disagree.

  • Ghosttoothepost

    DJ Johnny Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Ghosttoothepost Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 8:36 am
    “That late nite host on 95.7 GUARANTEES Raiders will not win 7 games. He thinks we’ll do well to win 4.”

    Rise Guys, in am stated no way in hell the Raiders win even one game.

    Not even ONE GAME? Geez.
    ===========
    Nope.
    Discussed unsettled oline, especially LT.
    WR crew that isn’t sharp.
    QB situation that is unsettled.
    defense with 9 new starters.
    now kicking game isn’t settled.

    Kind of hard to pick a W in there, even when optimistic

  • theghostronin79

    McFadden wants to be a Raider long-term, but that doesn’t mean he will.

    While the Raiders locked up kicker Sebastian Janikowski and long snapper Jon Condo with contract extensions that take advantage of 2014 salary-cap space, McFadden hasn’t been formally contacted about an extension.

    “They haven’t reached out to me,” McFadden said.

    ==============

    When did THIS change?……..

    Last I heard, the Org DID reach out to him, and he was like “I don’t know right now. Wanna test the market.”

    Or something like that.

  • J Hill

    Al Is,

    You don’t think Pryor starting from day 1 gets us 7 wins or more?

  • Marks hair

    how can we start TP? we’re just barely teaching him the PlayBook now.. we’ve wasted most of camp teaching him a separate playbook because reg and da just wanted to hand the starting job to their boy Flynn..

  • DJ Johnny

    630, I heard the same thing about DMAC shunning Reggie’s overtures to sign now longer term. It came from Cork or Jerry I think.

    If he did shun Reggie and all of a sudden NOW wants to re-up? Almost funny.

    Reggie: “What made u change your mind Darren”?

    DMAC: “I realized I’m gonna struggle to get over 3 ypc and i’m basically done as a player and have virtually no prayer to get offered more than a vet minimum one yr deal from someone else. Btw..I just realized I bleed silver and black.”

    Reggie: “That whole I bleed silver and black stuff didn’t work for Seymour either”.

  • bank-bank

    Great Raider Fans of America,Im telling all right now that if T.Pryor doesn’t start at quarterback in the season opener it will be bad very bad.Then D.Allen must be fired on the spot after the Colts whip the mess out of us.Flynn is a big mistake just ask the Seahawks.SMH.

  • J Hill

    A “separate playbook”????

    Not you too, Mark.

    Why is his practicing the pistol, read options, bootlegs, and plays that take advantage of his amazing athletic ability a waste of time?

    We’ve all heard the reports of Pryor’s good passing in practice. Cork has literally changed his stance.

    He stepped right in in the 2nd half and ran the base offense.

    He has enough plays to score 20 in limited time. I’m cool with that.

  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    Raider Fan in Fremont Says:

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000234834/article/broncos-fan-petitions-nfl-to-remove-joe-flacco-banner

    Some Bronco fans are so juvenile and childish. Must be the air.
    ===================================================

    Maybe too adult and reserved. If it bugged me it’d be paintball gun or paint bomb time. If arrested, ask for a jury trial.

    “And if you think Broncos fans in Denver would take issue with a giant(50 foot) likeness of Joe Flacco adorning the south entrance of their home stadium, well, you’d be right.

    To:

    Roger Goodell, @nflcommish, National Football League

    Take the Joe Flacco signage off my Mile High Stadium! Broncos Nation will not endure this detestable and audacious act. Who in their right mind thought that we would just let this fly?! We stand united against your unbearable Joe Flacco signage.”

  • J Hill

    TP has been given enough plays that he can audible to ones he likes after reading the defense IF he WANTS to.

    I’d argue Pryor has a BIGGER playbook than Flynn.

  • the famous dr robert

    The Raiders tweeted a happy bday message for DMc yesterday.

    Have they ever done that for another player?

    Seems like they are pretty committed to giving him his shot to start the season.

  • DJ Johnny

    Marks hair Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 8:49 am
    how can we start TP? we’re just barely teaching him the PlayBook now.. we’ve wasted most of camp teaching him a separate playbook because reg and da just wanted to hand the starting job to their boy Flynn..

    I heard Parcells say once that you don’t really need a bunch of fancy plays to be successful; just flawlessly execute a number of them.

    Some teams do things so well that the opposition knows what you’re going to run…just can’t do anything to stop it.

  • DJ Johnny

    the famous dr robert Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 8:57 am
    The Raiders tweeted a happy bday message for DMc yesterday.

    Have they ever done that for another player?

    Seems like they are pretty committed to giving him his shot to start the season.

    I’m rooting for him of course. Just don’t like what I saw last yr and it seems to be carrying over to this yr.

  • Marks hair

    because teams will scout him.. he needs the whole playbook. just a bunch of read option crap will not work at this level. it has to be diverse..

    you take the base offense and teach it to your quarterbacks and then you sprinkle in a package of option plays for pryor..

    teaching one guy one playbook and another guy an option playbook and calling it a competition is absurd.. bad for everybody and now we’re in catch up mode

  • bank-bank

    Look T.Pryor is our future,throw him in the water and let him get the experience he needs for the future.We are wasting time with Flynn because hes not our future.Were not going to win the Super Bowl this season anyway.

  • Marks hair

    the coaches would argue that he has a smaller playbook..

  • Al_is_theraiders

    jhill…with pryor 7 wins…might be high. pnly because the team is lacking talent everywhere….

  • the famous dr robert

    DJ Johnny Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 8:57 am
    Marks hair Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 8:49 am
    how can we start TP? we’re just barely teaching him the PlayBook now.. we’ve wasted most of camp teaching him a separate playbook because reg and da just wanted to hand the starting job to their boy Flynn..

    I heard Parcells say once that you don’t really need a bunch of fancy plays to be successful; just flawlessly execute a number of them.

    Some teams do things so well that the opposition knows what you’re going to run…just can’t do anything to stop it.
    *********^
    I played high school ball for a really good program.

    We were the number three team in the country my sophomore year and went undefeated my senior year.

    We ran a handful of plays on offense and two basic defenses with no blitzing.

    But we executed the sh1t out of them.

    We did not have the athletes that some other schools in the area had but we beat their azzes every time.

    That’s high school of course but the idea is correct.

  • the famous dr robert

    DMc is our weakest link.

    The lines will come together.

  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    Darren McFadden shuns Raiders’ contract feelers

    By Chris Wesseling
    Around the League Writer
    Published: Aug. 9, 2013 at 03:07 p.m

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000228257/article/darren-mcfadden-shuns-raiders-contract-feelers

    Entering the final year of his rookie contract, McFadden realizes it’s a poor time to negotiate a new deal with the Oakland Raiders after he averaged an NFL-low 3.27 yards per carry in yet another injury-plagued season.

    The Raiders have “checked in” with McFadden about a contract extension, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, but the former No. 4 overall draft pick has demurred. Extra motivated to prove he still can channel the dynamic workhorse he was under Hue Jackson in 2010 and parts of 2011, McFadden believes he will put himself in position to command a mega contract in 2014.

  • the famous dr robert

    Flynn = 9 wins

    Pryor = 2 wins

  • Marks hair

    4-5 wins.. just enough so we don’t land clowney

  • hwnrdr

    648.the famous dr robert Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 9:05 am
    Flynn = 9 wins

    Pryor = 2 wins

    Wow, really? With Flynn we will 9?