By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, August 30th, 2013 at 6:35 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Unedited version filed for print . .
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Friday he still hasn’t told Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor who would be the starting quarterback, but he did anoint rookie Menelik Watson as the starting left tackle.
Speaking to media by conference call, Allen declined to get into specifics regarding the roster cutdown to 53 or position battles, choosing to wait until the 53-man roster is assembled Saturday at 3 p.m.
“I would anticipate that Menelik Watson would be our starter for the opening game,’’ Allen said, referring to the Raiders first regular-season game on Sept. 8 on the road against the Indianapolis Colts.
Watson missed almost all of training camp with a calf strain and played left tackle against Seattle into the third quarter after being a right tackle throughout his 19-game career at Saddleback Community College and Florida State.
It would have been tough to tell in a 22-6 loss to Seattle, as Watson committed no penalties and showed the kind of athletic skill that made him the Raiders second-round draft pick.
“After watching the tape, I was impressed,’’ Allen said. “I thought he looked comfortable over there. I thought he played hard, I thought he played physical, which is something I wanted to see . . . I thought he would do well because he’s a big, powerful man.
“He just hasn’t played the position a lot and he’s got to go through the growing process over there.’’
As for which quarterback Watson will be protecting, Allen wouldn’t say, other than he’ll inform the quarterbacks themselves “sooner, rather than later.’’
Pryor’s statistical line (3 of 8 passing, 31 yards, one interception and 9.9 passer rating) was unimpressive, but Allen said he wasn’t overly concerned with those numbers.
“You want your quarterback to be able to make plays,’’ Allen said. “It really doesn’t matter what the box score says at the end of the game, how many yards they ran for or how many completions they had. What it really boils down to is how they move the team and are we effective and do we score enough points.’’
When the preseason ended, both Flynn and Pryor had been at quarterback for 13 drives. Flynn produced 10 points in those drives and Pryor 32, although Flynn’s work was against first-team defenses.
– The offensive line could undergo another reshuffle before the season opener. Tony Bergstrom, who had seemed to settle in at left guard, sustained a “significant’’ foot injury and Allen said it looked like the second-year player would miss some time.
If Bergstrom is out, Allen said the likely option would be moving Lucas Nix back to left guard and re-inserting Mike Brisiel at right guard. Brisiel had missed time with a knee injury but fared well playing with the second team against Seattle with the knowledge that his roster spot was at stake.
“He knew he needed to go into the game and play pretty well and I thought he did that,’’ Allen said.
Two other potential starters are also iffy to face Indianapolis. Sio Moore, the rookie strong side linebacker who was been with the first team since he arrived, missed the Seattle game with a toe injury. Tight end David Ausberry has been out with a shoulder injury.
Allen said he would have a better idea on both players when the Raiders return to practice Monday.
– While the Raiders got better pressure on Seattle quarterbacks than they had against Chicago and New Orleans, not much of the pass rush came from veteran defensive end Andre Carter.
“I don’t know that he was able to get after the passer as much as we would have liked,’’ Allen said. “He was really solid in run-support.’’
– Allen said he wouldn’t rule out keeping four quarterbacks on the roster. He said No. 4 quarterback Tyler Wilson had good command of the huddle but “looked like he hadn’t gotten a lot of playing time.’’