By Steve Corkran
Friday, November 29th, 2013 at 3:36 pm in Oakland Raiders.
ALAMEDA – Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Friday that he intends to stick with Matt McGloin as his starting quarterback for now. However, Allen also wants to get another look at Terrelle Pryor before this season ends.
It’s all part of Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie gathering as much information as possible on their quarterback situation before they head into the offseason.
“I don’t think he’s done anything to play himself out of that position,” Allen said of McGloin, who started the past three games in place of Pryor.
At the same time, Allen stopped short of anointing McGloin the unquestioned starter the final four games.
Most important, the Raiders need to have a firm grasp on what they have in McGloin and Pryor. To that end, Allen said he wants to see more of Pryor this season, too.
“We need to have a good evaluation of what we have at the quarterback position as we move forward,” Allen said. “These last four weeks will be instrumental in us being able to do that.”
Next year’s NFL draft is regarded as a quarterback-rich one. The Raiders can’t afford to overlook that position if they aren’t sold on either McGloin or Pryor as the long-term answer at a position that has been unsettled since Rich Gannon retired.
Pryor backed up McGloin the past two games – he sat out a third game with a right MCL sprain — and he is the only other quarterback on the roster now that the Raiders waived rookie Tyler Wilson, a fourth-round draft pick in April.
The Raiders hitched their fortunes to Matt Flynn as soon as they traded incumbent Carson Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals and acquired Flynn via trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
By the end of training camp, it became apparent that Pryor was the better option as the starter for the regular-season opener.
Pryor played well enough in his first four starts to validate Allen’s decision. In the midst of that four-game stretch, the Raiders waived Flynn on the heels of a disastrous start in place of an injured Pryor.
Then came a lackluster four-game stretch in which Pryor had eight passes intercepted, completed 50.8 percent of his passes and recorded one touchdown pass, some of that while Pryor played with a hurt knee.
McGloin sparkled in relief of Pryor against the Houston Texans, and then played well enough against the Titans and Cowboys for Allen to stick with him for the foreseeable future.
Yet, there’s also the matter of next season and beyond, especially since the Raiders are 4-8 and close to being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
– Allen said he’s more concerned than usual about the players that suffered injuries against the Cowboys because there’s only a month left in the season.
Right guard Mike Brisiel (knee), running backs Rashad Jennings (concussion) and Jeremy Stewart (ankle/knee), linebacker Kaluka Maiava (calf), safety Usama Young (neck) and cornerback Mike Jenkins (stinger) got hurt against the Cowboys.
Darren McFadden is healthy enough to handle a full workload if Jennings isn’t cleared to play against the New York Jets on Dec. 8, Allen said. McFadden returned Thursday from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for most of four games.
– The Raiders are assured a non-winning season for the 11th straight season. They finished 8-8 twice during that span.
Some of those teams came under fire for players tuning out the coach or throttling down once things went south. Allen is confident that his players won’t go down that road.
“When you watch us play and you watch us work every day, there is absolutely nothing that would give me any indication that there is anybody in that locker room that has any give up in them,” Allen said.
Long-time observers routinely mention how hard the Raiders play under Allen and his staff. At some point, Allen said, the hard work will manifest itself in more victories.
“I like the guys that are in that locker room,” Allen said. “I understand where we’re at from a record standpoint, but these guys have gone out there and given us everything that they’ve had every single week. I continue to expect to see that for the last four weeks of the season.”
– Khalif Barnes’ first NFL start at guard didn’t go quite as well as planned, Allen said. However, he got better as the game progressed and is considered an option at the position moving forward.
– Left offensive tackle Jared Veldheer played every snap Thursday in his first game action since last season.
“He held up good,” Allen said. “I saw him (Friday) morning, and he said he was feeling pretty good, so he got out of that clean.”
Allen planned on spelling Veldheer with Matt McCants from time to time, but Veldheer’s surgically repaired triceps didn’t present any issues.
– Strong safety Tyvon Branch (ankle) worked out with team trainers Friday. Allen said he is hopeful that Branch will return to game action soon. Branch missed the past 10 games.