By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, September 2nd, 2013 at 2:58 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Filed for print but with additional material . . .
Terrelle Pryor was first up when the Raiders broke the huddle and went to the line for their first drill Monday, but coach Dennis Allen declined to name a starting quarterback for the regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
Note: The San Francisco Chronicle, citing “league sources,” reported Pryor would start against the Colts. The NFL Network reported Raiders players had been told Pryor would start.
“I’m sure all of you have your questions on who the starting quarterback is going to be and what we’re going to do there,’’ Allen said following practice. “I’m really not going to get into that for competitive reasons.
“We’ve got a plan. Unless we start out in the Wildcat we’ll have a quarterback out there the first snap of the game. We’ll just leave it at that.’’
Pryor politely declined comment in the locker room and Matt Flynn was not available for comment.
Flynn, who sat out last week to rest a sore throwing arm, was suited up and was passing during drills.
“I think the (rest) helped him,’’ Allen said. “I don’t anticipate it will be an issue.’’
Allen said he told the quarterbacks who would start, and when asked if he would attempt to keep it a secret up to kickoff in Indianapolis on Sunday, replied, “Before I tell you? Yeah.’’
Whether Pryor starts or not, his ability to use his feet to create plays when the blocking breaks down will get him some playing time in certain situations with a set package of plays.
“We really don’t have a choice about who plays,’’ wide receiver Jacoby Ford said. “We’ll be comfortable with whoever is at the helm.’’
Three have been three examples where Raiders coaches in past years have attempted to fool the opponent regarding the identity of the quarterback, and all three games were losses.
In 2007, rookie coach Lane Kiffin wouldn’t name a starter between Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper. McCown started, and the Raiders lost 36-21.
In 2010, coach Tom Cable made Bruce Gradkowski the surprise starter, replacing Jason Campbell, and the result was a 33-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
After Campbell broke his collarbone in 2011, coach Hue Jackson kept alive the notion that newly acquired Carson Palmer could start against the Kansas Chiefs. Kyle Boller started instead and lasted until halftime of a 28-0 loss.
– Quarterback Tyler Wilson went unclaimed through waivers and the Raiders still have one spot left on their practice squad.
Update: Pryor has since been signed to the practice squad.
“At the end of the day it’s hard to keep four quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and we went through the competitive part of OTAs and minicamp, training camp, and we felt like McGloin was ahead,” Allen said. “Tyler ’s a guy that needs some time to develop but we had to make a decision on what we could take on our 53-man roster right now and we went with Matt McGloin.”
Allen wouldn’t speculate as to whether Wilson would be a possibility for the Raiders practice squad.
– Punter Marquette King simply out-kicked Chris Kluwe and earn the right to replace Shane Lechler as the Raiders punter.
“When you give it your all, you’ve just got to sit back and be patient,’’ King said. “I felt like I gave it my all.’’
Said Allen: “He out-punted him. Marquette won the competition as the punter and we’ll continue to work with the holding situation.’’
King has worked diligently on his holding for place kicks and while Allen will look at other possibilities, the plan is to have King be the holder against Indianapolis.
“I’d get my I-pad and just set it up by the kitchen and just try and be smooth,” King said. “When Justin Medlock came in he really focused on the point of holding, just trying to be smooth from here to there. I’ve been working on being relaxed. As long as your body’s relaxed and you catch a clean snap, you put it down pretty smooth.”
With players unable to practice in the offseason at the facility because of the CBA, King would join long-snapper Jon Condo for workouts in Dublin.
“He worked his butt off this offseason and I’m proud of him,” Condo said. “Now it’s time to go out there and put all that hard work he put in to make it work on Sundays.”
– The Raiders signed veteran tackle Tony Pashos and released Alex Barron. Although he has played almost exclusively on the right side during Pashos becomes the backup for on both the left and right side for Menelik Watson and Khalif Barnes.
Pashos, 33, is a 10-year veteran of five teams. He sat out last season but had 12 starts for Cleveland in 2012. He was released by the Washington Redskins Aug. 31.
“(Barron) wasn’t exactly what we were looking for and we wanted to try and get a veteran player in here, not a young kid that we had to try to develop because this guy’s going to have to go in there and potentially have to play for us,” Allen said.
– Allen said the expected starting offensive line against Indianapolis will be Menelik Watson at left tackle, Lucas Nix at left guard, Stefen Wisniewski at center, Mike Brisiel at right guard and Khalif Barnes at right tackle.
Tracy Porter will start at right cornerback, Allen said, with rookie first-round pick D.J. Hayden coming in to play outside in the nickel, with Porter moving to the slot.
– Three players did not practice Monday _ tight end David Ausberry (shoulder), kicker Sebastian Janikowski (calf) and free safety Usama Young (undisclosed).
Allen said Janikowski will be ready to kick against Indianapolis. Ausberry’s status will be better known Wednesday. If Ausberry is not ready, Jeron Mastrud would get the nod.
– Three uniform number changes Monday _ Mastrud is now No. 85, Porter is No. 23 and Andre Gurode is No. 64.
– Cornerback Chance Casey, wide receiver Greg Jenkins, tight end Brian Leonhardt, guard Lamar Mady and Shelton Johnson, all waived Saturday by the Raiders, were signed to the practice squad.
The Raiders also signed linebacker Marshall McFadden (waived by Pittsburgh) and offensive tackle Matt McCants (waived by the New York Giants.
The returning players are cornerback Chance Casey, wide receiver Greg Jenkins, tight end Brian Leonhardt, guard Lamar Mady and safety Shelton Johnson. All were waived by the Raiders Saturday.