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Watson getting his `baptism by fire’

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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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Marks hair

    id go with tp & mcgloin all yr.. develop the young guys. get clowney

  • bank-bank

    Flynn = 0 wins,you can trust.Zero wins under Flynn.

  • http://www.safc.com/the-club/stadium/about-the-stadium-of-light neilb

    Anyone else still having to log-in numerous times?

  • theghostronin79

    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..

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

    If they opt to go with Pryor….Depending on how he shows tomorrow, and how Flynn’s arm is feeling….. hopefully they’ll spend the next 9 days working on some installation. The 1st team should already be up to speed, considering they were all installed with Flynn.

    Each week they should be able to do more and more installation as they go, as WELL as have Pryor’s base Pistol / Option to mix in the middle of the games.

    Pryor seems passionate and determined enough that he may be a quick study…..That is, IF they made up their minds and already started getting him up to speed in practice this week.

    But who the Hell knows.

  • J Hill

    Al_is_theraiders Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 9:03 am

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

    ——————————————————————————

    I think we are lacking “established names”.

    Pryor has a chance to make a lot of the guys on offense better by extending plays.

    It’s all on the defense, no question. Which certainly has the GM and HC all over it.

  • http://www.safc.com/the-club/stadium/about-the-stadium-of-light neilb

    How many wins without Jared Veldheer.

  • RaiderRockstar

    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..

    ***

    @Marks Hair

    i’m not concerned about the playbook, even though Pryor himself admitted the other day that he’s not as far along as Flynn in that regard

    problem is reps. you learn by DOING and Flynn has had all the reps with 1′s from Day #1

    Pryor is working with a different group of players and he’s expected to do much more than he was when they projected his playing time being more of a “toy” or “package player”

    so I see your concern, but i’m not overly concerned 8)

  • J Hill

    How many wins is Clowney going to add to our bottom line?

  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    the famous dr robert Says:

    The Raiders tweeted a happy bday message for DMc yesterday.

    Have they ever done that for another player?
    ========================================================

    Routinely, of late.

  • Whoknows

    But who the Hell knows.
    *******************
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an_by5r8EUc

  • RaiderRockstar

    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

    ***

    100% correct. there never was a “competition” until Matt Flynn sucked in 3 preseason games

    blame is supporting cast if you like. you did the same for Palmer

    the Saints were prepared for Pryor and it showed. Dallas & Chicago? not so much

  • willy91137

    You don’t know how good Clowney will be by the time the draft comes he can get injured

    I don’t think you want to go into a season thinking about who you’re going draft next year
    we will cross that bridge when we get to it I think this team will play better the second half of the season of the season they will have their offense of line sorted out

    and the quarterback position will be settled if we don’t have too many injuries we might surprise a lot of people in the last half of the season

    and the defense will be more used to playing with each other I want to see: Vernon stick with this team he’s so smooth and has such great hands and runs precise routes excellent slot receiver

  • Kirk

    Pryor’s best play does not involve the playbook.

    Pryor drops back to pass, the protection breaks down, Pryor takes off running and scores on a 25 yard run.

  • J Hill

    MH,

    What part of the playbook do you think that long TD pass to Butler was in?

    The one in practice that the coach and fans were raving about?

    Those plays in addition to the pistol and read option says to me his playbook was bigger.

    He has to know the pistol formations, read option, shotgun, AND plays from under center.

  • Kirk

    I’m not cheering for any quarterback named Clowney.

  • RaiderRockstar

    if Matt Flynn isn’t good enough to start .. he shouldn’t be on the team

    that’s my 2 cents

    1 – Pryor
    2 – McGloin
    3 – Wilson

  • Whoknows

    Let’s face it, Reggie is probably the guy who scouted Flynn for GB and convinced them to pick him up. Now, 7 years later, he is trying to show what a genius he was with ‘his guy’.

  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    neilb Says:
    Anyone else still having to log-in numerous times?
    =====================================================

    Refresh usually works on Firefox.
    Reloading current post from previous post sometimes works.
    If it insists on log in, usually takes me several attempts.
    I think it’s an ill advised effort to weed out trolls.
    They’re more invested in posting comments than anyone.

  • J Hill

    McGloin is not good, man.

    His lone highlight is a GREAT catch by Butler for 6.

    He was terrible in that last game. 2 picks, and should have had a 3rd.

    The travesty is Wilson not getting ANY snaps is practice or the games. How are they evaluating him?

  • RaiderRockstar

    does it look worse to trade for a player and he doesn’t make your 53 man roster … or draft somebody in the top 115 picks and he doesn’t make it?

    2014 5th rounder vs 2013 4th rounder is basically what it amounts to.

    what leaves the least amount of egg on Reggie’s face??

  • http://www.safc.com/the-club/stadium/about-the-stadium-of-light neilb

    Thanks!

  • willy91137

    Isn’t prior wearing a wristband with all the plays on it play number one roll to the right if no opin receiver keep running

    play number two the same as one

  • RaiderRockstar

    The travesty is Wilson not getting ANY snaps is practice or the games. How are they evaluating him?

    ***

    @Jhill

    2013 Wilson = 2012 Pryor

    coaches = lazy dopes

  • J Hill

    And I’m not even saying Wilson will be good or not.

    Just how in the heck can they even know with ZERO snaps???

  • http://profootballtalk.com Raideraholic (AKAHairyBush)

    It’s a miracle I can log in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • bcz24

    This is ridiculous. First time I have been able to log in here in about 20 hours, from multiple browsers or computers. Then, when I can log in, after about 20 minutes it will log me back out and I wont be able to get back in at all. I have emailed Becker and Cork a few times, and not even gotten a response at all. I don’t think they care to be honest.

  • jumpnjiminy

    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
    VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

    you have to admit doc, that one was funny!

  • RaiderRockstar

    McGloin is not good, man.

    ***

    the coaching staff & beat writers disagree with you

    he’s a UNDRAFTED rookie, remember?

    you’re expecting HOF production in his 1st NFL preseason?

    this is year #6 for Flynn.. what’s his excuse?

    sore elbow, apparently

  • irjonny

    It just seems to me that Pryor has outplayed Flynn. That means he’s better IMO. It’s all on youtube if you wanna review

  • bcz24

    Just how in the heck can they even know with ZERO snaps???
    *********
    Less film on him available. Less likely he gets snatched up when we try to put him on the PS.

  • willy91137

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 9:27 am
    does it look worse to trade for a player and he doesn’t make your 53 man roster … or draft somebody in the top 115 picks and he doesn’t make it?

    2014 5th rounder vs 2013 4th rounder is basically what it amounts to.

    what leaves the least amount of egg on Reggie’s face??
    @willy
    I looked at the patriots two years ago they had to six round picks and 4/7 round picks two years later none of them players were on the team

    GM’s miss on players all the time maybe got injured may be he has a bad attitude
    it’s not an exact science

  • http://www.safc.com/the-club/stadium/about-the-stadium-of-light neilb

    Sometimes after I refresh I have to log-in again but nothing as bad as that.

  • jumpnjiminy

    I think a lot of folks are wrong abmout McGloin’s 3 picks. He’s a rookied for crying out loud and that last one was at the end of the game on 4th and like 23 or something….sheesh!

  • RaiderRockstar

    former Raider Aaron Curry retires.

    good luck pal. thanks for the memories!

  • Whoknows

    I looked at the patriots two years ago they had to six round picks and 4/7 round picks two years later none of them players were on the team

    GM’s miss on players all the time maybe got injured may be he has a bad attitude
    it’s not an exact science
    *****************************
    It’s hard to compare which draft picks that don’t make the roster on a good team with those that don’t on a bad team.

  • Kirk

    “More like Lost in Space without Dr Smith”

    ………………………………………………

    Oh the pain, the PAIN!

  • DJ Johnny

    Good news is Watson is actually playing.

    Most of us had doubts our 2nd rd pick would even play at all and here he is healthy and STARTING.

    So our # 1 is in and our # 2…which is a victory of sorts.

    I boldly predict Watson will play well and give us a lot of encouragement in regard to our line.

    How can we expect a guy who never played the position and has had almost no practice in camp…and he’s a rookie, to play well just getting thrown in there?

    I don’t know; I just think he will.

  • willy91137

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 9:27 am
    @willy
    I have the same problem if you look at the number of the post and then when you close out and come back make sure that you are getting to the bottom of the page

    on my Mac were the e-mail address shows there’s an arrow in a circle if you pressed flat you will find that you’re probably logged in but not going to the bottom of the page I don’t know where the refresh button is on a PC

  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    jumpnjiminy Says:
    More like Lost in Space without Dr Smithyou have to admit doc, that one was funny!
    ==================================================

    He did.

  • jumpnjiminy

    and with Pryor and Flynn – we knew going in these two were vasly inexperienced – we’d be lucky if any of the qbs we have could come out and start developing anywhere near the level of say Andrew Luck or RGIII…but you never know.

    Pryor’s ‘slowly’ progressing..give him a chance so called ‘fans’. And if Flynn can’t hack it or his hurt arm really is holding him back, write him off and move on. Give McGloin some time too…what a bunch of impatient teenagers we all are…

    Or more realistically, we’ll be lucky to win 5 or 6 games this year, BUT I still say more than when we had that bum Palmer under center! Watch as ARI continues to be a bottom dweller.

  • irjonny

    hope you’re right DJ. if that’s the case then we may have Hayden, Watson, Moore and possibly Butler all in the gameday lineup this year…not bad

  • Charlie

    Good Morning RR

    I really hope TP does well tomorrow evening.
    As I have said many times TP will start if he is the best we have at reading defenses and throwing accurately to the most open WR.
    Those are MUST haves. Escapability and running ability are NICE to haves.
    That being said, how many starters in the NFL at QB make it through a season without missing a start?

    Reggie got Flynn to avoid the disaster that befel us in 2011 and that got us in the Palmer mess in the first place. You MUST have two QB’s that have at least can allow us to compete at the NFL level.

    Guys like Bollar were ill advised decisions that were made because we were already paying Seymour and Kelly HOF money and could not afford anything more.

    It is another reason why I have stressed drafting lineman with high round picks. Injuries do happen and now we have to start Watson at LT. Thankfully we drafted Watson in the second round. Many on the blog did not see any need to draft an Olineman at all.

  • hwnrdr

    McGloin has looked good in Napa…but then again…

  • hwnrdr

    688.willy91137 Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 9:38 am
    RaiderRockstar Says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 9:27 am
    @willy
    I have the same problem if you look at the number of the post and then when you close out and come back make sure that you are getting to the bottom of the page

    on my Mac were the e-mail address shows there’s an arrow in a circle if you pressed flat you will find that you’re probably logged in but not going to the bottom of the page I don’t know where the refresh button is on a PC

    F5 button on top

  • J Hill

    the coaching staff & beat writers disagree with you

    —————————————————————————-

    Can I use that line on you in reference to Watson?

    And since when is not throwing 3 picks = HOF production?

    Flynn sucks like I’ve been saying from day 1. Ask his agent what his excuses are.

  • Kirk

    I watched the Seahawks blitz Aaron Rodgers last week.

    They were on him in about 3 seconds.

  • No Mas Diamante

    McGloin’s interceptions were not nearly as disturbing as our supposed starter, Flynn. Seriously, Flynn is not a starter which is why he has never been one. Can’t believe Dr. Sparkle Pony (aka sullivan44) predicted nine wins if he is our starter opening day. I would take Tebow over Flynn to back up Pryor at this point.

  • jumpnjiminy

    Oh you’re right about the Dr Smith ref…sorry.

  • Purvisman/Intrepid/Eternal Optimist

    Willy, what kind of Mac you got?

  • J Hill

    McGloin will still make it to the PS.

    Some team like the Bills would claim Wilson.