By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, August 29th, 2013 at 11:32 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Filed for print with additional material . . .
Following a 22-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks to close out the preseason, Raiders coach Dennis Allen was asked point blank if he knew who his starting quarterback would be when the regular season begins.
“I’m not telling you, but yes,’’ Allen said.
An anxious fan base will have to wait and see whether Terrelle Pryor or Matt Flynn will be under center when the Raiders play against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 8.
Based on how things went when Pryor subbed for a sore-armed Matt Flynn Thursday night before 67,341 fans at CenturyLink Field, it could go either way.
The Raiders finished the preseason 1-3 and Allen will turn his attention to trimming 22 players form the roster to get to the NFL limit of 53 by Saturday. Seattle is 4-0.
Pryor showed the running skills that make him such an intriguing option but struggled with his passing in a first-half performance which was limited to 19 snaps because Seattle moved at will against the Raiders first- and second-team defense.
With 45 yards rushing on three carries, including a 25-yard burst around right end and a 17-yard bootleg to the left, Pryor helped set up Justin Medlock for field goals of 45 and 37yards.
But when it came to pass, Pryor was 3 of 8 for 31 yards, an interception on an under-thrown deep ball to Jacoby Ford, and a miniscule 9.9 passer rating. Late in the half, when the Raiders took over with 3:52 to play, they went 61 yards without completing a pass _ not exactly a pro-style passing attack.
Allen thought the lack of rhythm in the passing game was at least in part due to having the ball for only 19 plays. Pryor was critical of himself over the interception, but otherwise thought he did OK.
The Raiders sat out center Stefen Wisniewski and right tackle Khalif Barnes, in addition to running back Darren McFadden.
“I didn’t have some of my guys, guys I was working with all week,’’ Pryor said. “I’ll get better. It’s crunch time now.’’
Allen said he will withhold an announcement of the quarterback “until the appropriate time’’, and when asked if he might wait until the season opener, said, “We’ll see.’’
Flynn, Allen said, is expected to be back at practice and ready to play Monday after resting his arm.
Neither quarterback was interested in lobbying for the job.
“I don’t really want to get into that,’’ Pryor said. It’s going to be coach’s call and whatever he thinks is best for the team. It’s all about the team, and if it’s me leading, I’ll lead to the best of my ability and we’ll get things done. If it’s Matt leading, then we’ll get things done too and I’ll support him.’’
Allen may know who the quarterback is, but Flynn said he had no idea and added, “I don’t know. We’ll wait and see. I can only control what I do.’’
Allen was able to find silver linings among the black clouds that found the Raiders scoring only 16 points in the first halves of the last three preseason games.
Most notably, Seattle had only 34 yards rushing on 17 first-half carries.
“We wanted to be a physical team in this game and really I thought we were,’’ Allen said. “ I thought our guys played with effort, I thought our guys ran around. We didn’t always play as smart as we needed to play.’’
Another bright spot was left tackle Menelik Watson, playing his first game at the position after only one padded practice. The second-round pick incurred no penalties and had no glaring mistakes.
“The first thing that comes to mind is I’ve got to get better,’’ Watson said. “There’s a few things comfort wise with the run game, that I got more reps at. I think I did a good job mostly just concentrating on the assignment and what I’ve got to do.’’
– Seattle starting quarterback Russell Wilson was 3 of 3 for 68 yards and a touchdown and Robert Hauschka kicked five field goals to account for Seattle’s scoring.
The Raiders were particularly vulnerable on rollouts and bootlegs with receivers breaking free.
– Running back Rashad Jennings had 53 yards on six carries including bursts of 9 and 32 yards on Oakland’s field goal drive before the half.
—- Wide receiver Brice Butler did not make the trip because of a hamstring injury and Sio Moore, bothered by a toe injury of late, also did not play.
– Mike Brisiel, who has struggled with his knee of late, played as the second-team right guard in the second half behind starter Lucas Nix.
– Rookie defensive end David Bass, a seventh-round draft pick, got good pressure and had one sack erased by a defensive holding penalty by linebacker Kaelin Burnett.
– It was the eighth consecutive year the Raiders have ended the preseason against the Seahawks. Seattle has won seven times, with the only Raiders win coming 23-16 in the only game played between the two teams in Oakland in 2010.
– Pryor on how he’s adjusting to the differences between college and pro football): “Accuracy. Timing with receivers. I think I’ve definitely gotten better with that. Making strides. Today I threw one to Rod (Streater), I believe, and he hadn’t come out of his break yet.”
– Flynn on if line struggles and his mobility hurt his chances to be the starter: “There are a lot of things we have been cleaning up protection-wise. A lot of it is miscommunications and things we need to get cleaned up.”
How Flynn would assess the preseason: “I felt there were a lot of good things. I don’t judge the preseason by just what happened in some of the games. It’s about seeing where you are as a player and a football team and I think overall things went well. We would have liked to put some better stuff on film game-wise but that’s what it’s for.”
– Chris Kluwe had a line-drive 44-yard punt that Walter Thurmond returned up the middle for 28 yards, but later had a 48-yard punt with good hangtime. Marquette King hit a 52-yard punt with a net of 41 on his lone punt.
Kluwe was the holder on Medlock’s 45-yard field goal, and King was the holder when Medlock connected from 37. Medlock was subbing for Sebastian Janikowski, who sat out the game with a calf injury.
“I think it’s been a good competition. I think both of those guys have done some good things and we’ll let you know at the appropriate time who we decide to go with,” Allen said.
– Allen said he planned all along not to play not to play Wisniewski, Barnes and McFadden. Free safety Charles Woodson sat out because he was ill.
– Lamarr Houston and Christo Bilukidi had sacks for the Raiders, who had their best penetration of the preseason from their defensive front. Rookie seventh-round pick David Bass had a sack erased on a penalty.
“This was the first time this preseason we were able to get our starting defensive line all together and I thought we did a nice job of stopping the run and really there was a couple of times where were able to get to the quarterback too and that was good to see,” Allen said.
–Not much to choose from in the battle for third quarterback between Matt McGloin (5 of 7 for 41 yards, zero points) and Tyler Wilson (8 of 12, 65 yards, zero points).
One of the more intriguing cuts the Raiders will make. McGloin had the better training camp and preseason, but was an undrafted free agent. Wilson was a fourth-round draft pick. Allen has stressed competition, but general manager Reggie McKenzie could well take that position that in projecting the players, Wilson will be the better player down the road.