Raiders-Eagles game sells out, will be televised locally


The Raiders game against the Philadelphia Eagles sold out, and it will be televised locally, a team spokesman said Thursday.
The game begins at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at the Coliseum, as the Raiders aim for their second straight victory and fourth overall. They won only four games all last season.
The Raiders now have sold out all five of their regular-season home games this season and 20 of their past 21 dating to the start of the 2011 season.
The Raiders can gain a sweep of the Pennsylvania teams with a win over the Eagles. Last Sunday, the Raiders beat the Steelers 21-18 as they improved to 3-4.


Pryor bristles at suggestion he needs to prove his game well-rounded


It wasn’t so long ago when people wondered whether the Raiders would create a package of plays that would take advantage of Terrelle Pryor’s superior running ability. Then came Pryor’s meteoric transformation from a project into a legitimate NFL starter.
Sure, Pryor has started only seven games during his two-plus NFL seasons — six of those came this season — but that’s enough of a sample size for people to get the point that Pryor is more than a runner.
“We’re a little past that,” Pryor said, when asked whether he is eager to prove that he is more than a running quarterback. “You can go watch against the Broncos and a couple of other teams. I threw the ball very well. I’m not really into trying to prove anything to anybody.”
Pryor said all he cares about is winning games. If it means running 93 yards on a quarterback keeper or throwing a well-placed pass to Rod Streater, as he did on the first play of the game against the Chargers, Pryor’s focus is upon winning games these days.
And he certainly isn’t in the mood to hear any criticism about how the Raiders passing game has languished among the least productive in the league all season on the heels of a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It’s all about getting a win,” Pryor said. “At the end of the day, we got a win. You’re not going to question me for winning the game. Now if we lost and had that bad game, yeah, but winning … ”
Pryor paused, smiled, leaned into the microphone and ended his news conference by saying, “Just win baby.”
Eagles coach Chip Kelly apparently doesn’t need any convincing about Pryor being a well-rounded quarterback.
“They’re doing a lot more things with him as a passer,” Kelly said. “He seems like he wants to stay in the pocket and throw the ball. He’s that package that you worry about as a defensive group because he can throw it, but he can also tuck it down and make some really good plays. He’s obviously a very big threat, and we need to make sure we contain him.”
Just don’t fence him in and call him a running quarterback, coach.

— Linebacker Miles Burris practiced today for the first time since last season ended. Soon thereafter, he said he feels confident that he’s going to be activated to the 53-man roster at some point within the next three weeks.
That’s the time frame the Raiders have to decide whether Burris is healthy enough to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster. If not, their other choices are to place Burris on season-ending injured reserve or release Burris.
As far as Burris is concerned, there isn’t any question how this is going to turn out.
“I feel very confident,” Burris said. “Whenever I’m out there, I’m confident. As a football player, you kind of have to.”
Burris said he just wants to help the Raiders however he can, even if that means special teams.

— Left offensive tackle Jared Veldheer met with a doctor in Los Angeles on Monday. On Wednesday, he said everything is going well and that he’s “on track” for a return soon.
Allen said on track means “soon” and that the initial prognosis called for Veldheer to miss three months with the torn triceps.
Veldheer suffered the injury one week into training camp and underwent surgery Aug. 14. Therefore, he’s coming up on three months for both dates.
Still, Allen said, it’s going to take a little more time for Veldheer to get back into the swing of taking on blockers, getting into football shape and getting ready to play in a game for the first time since last season.

— Menelik Watson fared pretty well at practice today, Allen said. He is going to get reps at left and right tackle, given he might be needed to either spot.
Watson worked at left tackle with the second-team offense at practice today.
“Both those guys looked fairly decent out there at practice,” Allen said of Watson and Burris. “We’ll continue to evaluate them as the week goes on. That was good to see to have those guys back out there. Those guys can help us.”
The interesting part comes when Veldheer and Watson are healthy enough to play.
We know that Veldheer pushes Khalif Barnes out of the left tackle spot. From there, it’s anyone’s guess.
Barnes has fared well at left tackle, and he’s the incumbent right tackle. Still, Tony Pashos has played well at right tackle after being signed out of desperation near the end of training camp.
It’s likely that Barnes will go back to right tackle, with Pashos and Watson serving as backups, at least in the short term.
Another scenario involves Pashos or Watson playing right tackle and Barnes converting to guard.
Allen said Wednesday that the injuries to Pashos and Andre Gurode appear to be short-term ones as of now, though he isn’t quite sure when either might return.

— Eagles coach Chip Kelly recruited Pryor to play for Oregon University when Pryor was one of the most sought after high school players.
Ultimately, Pryor accepted a scholarship to Ohio State, where he guided the Buckeyes to a victory over Kelly’s Oregon team in the Rose Bowl.
Pryor completed 20 of 37 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns that game, and he rushed 20 times for 72 yards.
He was tempted to take his talents to Eugene — OK, so it’s not quite South Beach — but, in the end, he decided to play close to home so that his mother could attend his games.
“I loved his personality,” Pryor said of Kelly. “I loved the fire he brought to the game. He came to my high school and spent a lot of time at my high school, showing me uniforms and showing me the playbook, some of the stuff that he likes, that he runs. It was very interesting and intriguing.”

— Wide receiver Andre Holmes was on the field for more snaps than Jacoby Ford and Brice Butler against the Steelers. That’s not an anomaly. It’s by design.
“Obviously we want to try to continue to get him involved. Right now, I feel good about the wide receiver position. I want to see a little bit more consistency, but that’s not too much different than the rest of the football team.
“He’s a big-bodied guy. He had a really good preseason. He obviously missed a lot of time with the suspension so he’s still getting back into the groove of the offense a little bit, but he’s a guy that can help us.”
It also helps Holmes from the standpoint that when Ford and Butler did play they stood out more for what they didn’t do than for making positive plays.
Ford fumbled at the end of a short reception, not to mention fumbling a punt and coming close to muffing another punt. Butler clanked one pass right on the money and had another hit off his hands and wind up in the arms of a Steelers defender.


Burris practices for first time, Watson back on field


Linebacker Miles Burris is on the practice field today, as expected, putting an end to the long wait he endured whle rehabilitating an injury that required surgery.
Burris had the surgery soon after last season ended. Therefore, he has spent the better part of 10 months rehabbing.
Now that he’s practicing with his teammates, the Raiders have 21 days to evaluate Burris before a decision is made whether to activate him to the 53-man roster, place him on season-ending injured reserve or release him.
The third option seems very unlikely, given how well Burris performed as a rookie last season, when he supplanted Aaron Curry in the starting lineup and stayed there all season.
That the Raiders cleared Burris to practice signifies that they think he has a realistic chance to help them in games the rest of his season, even if he’s not in the staring lineup.
The Raiders are pretty set at linebacker with Kevin Burnett, Nick Roach and Sio Moore entrenched for now. Therefore, Burris’ return would give defensive coordinator Jason Tarver more flexibility in terms of using a 3-4 alignment more often.
Burris also has the ability to help out on special teams.

— Rookie offensive lineman Menelik Watson also is back on the practice field. He missed the past several weeks after he aggravated a calf injury.
Watson still is trying to stay healthy enough so that he can play in his first regular-season game. He was slated to begin the season at left offensive tackle until he suffered a knee injury that required surgery.
Watson worked at left tackle with the second-team offense during the early portion of practice.

— Right tackle Tony Pashos, left tackle Jared Veldheer and backup lineman Andre Gurode aren’t at practice today.
Veldheer was in Southern California earlier this week to see a specialist about his recovery from triceps surgery. No word yet on what he gleaned from that meeting.
Veldheer has been out all season after an injury that he suffered in training camp. He now is eligible to play in a game after being forced to sit out the first nine games, as required by players designated for return from injured reserve — teams are allowed one such designation per season.
Matt McCants worked at right tackle in Pashos’ absence. He has started two games there and played well enough to warrant consideration for staying in the lineup once Pashos returns.


Raiders re-sign DE, add OL to practice squad


The Raiders re-signed defensive end Brian Sanford and added him to their 53-man roster Wednesday. He fills the void created by the releas of offensive lineman Jack Cornell.
Speaking of Cornell, he was re-signed today and placed back on the Raiders practice squad.
Confused? Don’t be. The Raiders waived Sanford before the Steelers game and signed Cornell from the practice squad because of the need for offensive line depth that day.
Now that the Raiders made it through the Steelers game, they are right back where they were at this time last week, with Sanford on the 53-man roster and Cornell on the practice squad.
In other news, former Raiders safety Michael Huff was waived by the Baltimore Ravens this morning. He recorded five tackles in limited action. He lost his starting job after a disastrous performance against the Denver Broncos in the regular-season opener.
It’s very unlikely that the Raiders will make a run at bringing back Huff, regardless the salary.


Notes and quotes from coach Allen news conference


By Jerry McDonald
Staff writer

Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver apologized Monday for making an obscene gesture towards an NFL official and the club said any discipline would be handled internally.

When cornerback Mike Jenkins broke up a pass intended for Pittsburgh running back La’Veon Bell in the third quarter Sunday in a 21-18 win by the Raiders, Tarver protested a penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver.

A film clip caught Tarver twice giving an obscene gesture and appearing to deliver a matching expletive. The flag was picked up when a second official said there was no foul.

In a statement released by the team, Tarver said, “I apologize for my action on the sideline of yesterday’s game. It was in the heat of the moment, and I regret drawing attention away from the Raiders players and what they accomplished.”

Raiders coach Dennis Allen referred to Tarver’s apology when asked about the incident at his weekly press conference and added, “The only thing I’ll say is I think he’s done an outstanding job with our defense. I think he’s a fiery and emotional guy and our players have really taken to that. I think they’ve embraced that type of attitude and he has the defense playing at high level right now.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN.com, “It was an emotional outburst by a coach in the heat of a game. We don’t condone those actions and we’ll handle it in-house.”

Former NFL director of officials Mike Pereira wrote on his Fox Sports blog that he contacted the league office regarding the incident and anticipated Tarver would receive a fine.

In 2010, the NFL fined Titans defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil $40,000 for the same obscene gesture, although he had previously incurred a $20,000 fine for unsportsman-like conduct toward an official.

The NFL typically allows teams to discipline coaches, stepping in only if it feels the punishment is not sufficient.

A league spokesman referred all inquires about Tarver to the Raiders, saying the club would handle discipline.

• Left tackle Jared Veldheer was visiting a doctor in Los Angeles to check on the progress of his surgically repaired left triceps.

“He’ll have a check-up and we’ll have a little bit better understanding what the time frame is for him to be back after today,” Allen said.

Linebacker Miles Burris (knee) is expected to come off the Physically Unable to Perform list Wednesday and practice for the first time this season after having knee surgery last January.

The Raiders then have three weeks to determine whether to put Burris on the 53-man roster, waive him, or put him on injured reserve.

Left tackle Menelik Watson (calf) could practice Wednesday as well, Allen said.

• Even accounting for more conservative play-calling with an 18-point lead, Allen said there were plays to be made in the second half when the Raiders managed only 35 yards of offense and one first down.

But he also defended protecting a lead when the defense was playing as well as it was.

“I think you’ve got to understand how you’re going to win games, and when the defense is playing really good, you’ve got to protect the football and you’ve got to let your defense go out and win the game for you,” Allen said.

• Right tackle Matt McCants more than held his own with Pittsburgh left outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Woodley, the Steelers’ leader with five sacks, had no tackles and one quarterback hit.

McCants said Sunday he had room for improvement and noted the Steelers had attempted only one blitz on his side in the game.

“Every time we put him in there he continues to do some good things,” Allen said.

McCants has started the last three games in place of the injured Tony Pashos (hip).


Numerous viewpoints on Pryor’s record-setting TD run


OAKLAND – In a span of 14 seconds, Terrelle Pryor turned an inauspicious start by the Raiders on Sunday into a tone-setting touchdown with a run for the ages.
Pryor took the snap from center, faked a hand-off to running back Darren McFadden, rolled to his right, turned the corner and sprinted 93 yards for the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in NFL history.
That play propelled the Raiders to an early lead that they parlayed into a 21-18 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Coliseum. It also brought about a wide range of perspective on a play that seemed rather innocuous at first.
Center Stefen Wisniewski had his face buried in the body of nose tackle Steve McClendon, thinking he cleared a crease for McFadden.
“I heard the crowed cheering, I kind of looked at D-Mac and he looked like he was 5 of 6 yards downfield,” Wisniewski said. “I was like, ‘Are we that excited about a 5- or 6-yard gain?’
“Sure enough, I look up and Pryor’s at the 50 with no one around him and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s why they’re cheering. Sweet.’ ”
By the time Wisniewski and many others realized what transpired, Pryor had more than 5 yards on the nearest Steelers defender en route to an untouched romp into the end zone.
Left offensive tackle Khalif Barnes was fixated on Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, doing his part to help spring McFadden for a sizable gain. Or so he thought.
“I see D-Mac come out the hole next to me … then I hear the crowd erupt,” Barnes said. “It’s always a good feeling when you hear the crowd erupt because you know something big is happening.”
The play was a read-option, where Pryor is assigned to give the ball to McFadden or keep it, depending upon how outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley reacts to the prospect of McFadden getting the ball.
Woodson “bit hard,” according to Wisniewski, which left Pryor with one fewer defender to worry about on the right side of the Raiders line.
All that remained were for right offensive tackle Matt McCants to seal the edge and wide receiver Rod Streater to seal off strong safety Troy Polamalu.
“I decided to hit my guy as hard as I could,” McCants said, still expecting the ball to go to McFadden. “The next thing, I looked up and T.P. was in the end zone. So, I was like, that’s a good sign.”
Streater saw the play unfolding, and he knew he had the ability to turn a short gain into a long one.
“I just knew I had to get outside leverage on Polamalu and seal him off,” Streater said. “He just (read) my block right, cut up and made a great play.”
Next thing he knew, Streater said, Pryor was on his way to what he called the longest run of his football career, at any level.
“Man, anytime he gets around the edge, it can be a House Call because he’s so fast,” Streater said. “It was just a great call, a great play and a great read by him.”
Pryor said he doesn’t recall seeing so much room to run on such a play call.
“I saw (Woodley) biting,” Pryor said, “and I was like ‘jeez.’ … I came out (wide), Rod made a phenomenal block, and it was off to the races.”
The Raiders worked on this play “for a while,” Barnes said. Still, no one was quite sure how it was going to work out or that it was going to be called on the first play of the game.
Raiders veteran safety Charles Woodson watched from the sideline and said Pryor “faked me out,” and he didn’t realize what happened until Pryor was at midfield.
Even McFadden wasn’t quite sure if he was getting the ball or not.
“I didn’t know if he was going to keep it or not,” McFadden said. “He just so happened to pull it (back) and he smoked around the end for 93 yards. …Once I went (into the line) and guys kind of grabbed me, I heard the crowd roar and I looked up. He was just gone.”