NFL Nation: Tyler Wilson

One of the toughest balancing acts for a coaching staff at an NFL training camp is determining how much contact will be allowed in practices -- and how hard the contact can be.

As the Cincinnati Bengals wind down their training camp portion of the preseason Thursday, we can safely say the team had as good a mix of hitting and non-live activity as you're probably going to find in the league these days.

 They never did formally tackle live in practices, but some defenders made just enough contact with various offensive skill players -- primarily rookies and young free agents -- that it caught some attention. It was common for linebacker Vontaze Burfict to give rookie running back James Wilder Jr. a firm thud on a screen across the middle of the field. Burfict did the same thing to the since-released Jeremy Johnson when he'd catch passes in his area.

On Wednesday, safety George Iloka got in on the popping action, delivering a couple of hard forearms to first-year receiver Colin Lockett. Like some of Burfict's hits, those came in a practice that saw the Bengals wearing only shoulder pads and helmets. One of the forearms to Lockett's back came after players all took their pads off in favor of finishing the practice in only their jerseys and helmets.

"We're not playing against the Bengals, they're not on our schedule, but some things happen in practice," defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. "You can't tell a dog not to eat red meat."

Still, Bengals coaches hope their defensive dogs know that for now, they only want them nibbling on the offensive prey that are in their way. When they suit up Saturday and the following Sunday and the Thursday after that, then they can deliver whatever hard blows they want to deal.

"We've just got to take care of our guys and continue to be aggressive," Guenther added.

So considering how bad some of the collisions were, should Guenther and his assistants rein in their players?

No.

Again, the group wasn't out to maliciously hurt anyone during this camp. They were primarily out to test the toughness of some of the newest members of the team. If Burfict could hit Wilder or one of the young receivers like Lockett hard enough and they could bounce right up, a message was sent to the locker room that the struck player could match the toughness the rest of the team believed it had.

Not to mention, sometimes, the hitters were just following orders.

"Sometimes I'll tell a guy that if I don't think practice is going the way we want it, to get some stuff going," Guenther said. "It gets everybody into the practice a little bit."

That means there will be no reining in of defenders going on in practices any time soon. Besides, before too long they'll be into the regular-season mode of practicing, meaning their in-practice contact will soon decrease dramatically.

Wilson will play: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said during his news conference Wednesday that backup quarterback Tyler Wilson will end up playing at some point Saturday against the Jets, despite having less than a week of practices.

Wilson was signed last Saturday after brief stints with Oakland and Tennessee. He's excited for this opportunity, and hopes that by the end of camp he can prove he belongs on an NFL roster.

It's tough right now seeing him on the Bengals' roster in three weeks. He's currently the No. 4 quarterback on a team that signed him in response to No. 2 quarterback Jason Campbell's elbow injury that occurred a week ago Thursday. The former Arkansas standout has at least one familiar face in the Bengals' locker room: Cobi Hamilton was his go-to receiver in college.

"When you've been sitting on the street, you learn fast," Lewis said of Wilson.

The coach didn't say how much he might use Wilson this weekend. But with backup Matt Scott working through a sore shoulder and starter Andy Dalton likely limited to 15-25 early snaps, Wilson could see his fair share of action.

"He's been able to learn things to go out and operate," Lewis said. "He handled the verbiage and the terminology well and the adjustments he needed to make. He did a good job."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- During quarterback drills early in the first practice of voluntary minicamp, quarterbacks Charlie Whitehurst and Tyler Wilson took some snaps where they dropped back, climbed the pocket, dropped back again, climbed again then rolled to the right and threw.

Locker
On Jake Locker's turns, he did the dropping and the climbing but not the rolling.

"Those are things that we're working into and we're going to get more comfortable with, hopefully in the next week or two," Locker said. "I'm probably erring on the side of more being cautious at this point. I think if you asked me to go do it right now, I could."

He worked in the position drills but not in bigger periods involving the full offense as he continues to work back from winter surgery to repair the Lisfranc ligament in his right foot.

He looked comfortable and smoother than I imagined, considering what he's coming back from.

Once the offense went to work, Whitehurst and Wilson ran things.

"I knew more about what to expect out of Charlie than I did out of Tyler," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "It’s just the first day. There’s a lot more coming as far as what we’re doing. We kept it pretty basic today.

"I thought they both did well and they both made some nice throws. We had too many balls on the ground today. We had opportunities to make catches we didn’t make. Those are things you get a chance to work on."
So, you already knew that the recently acquired Matt Schaub was earmarked to be the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback this season. And while neither Terrelle Pryor nor his fans should be happy about that development, what coach Dennis Allen told reporters Tuesday will perk up more than a few ears.

Schaub
Schaub
"We have a quarterback now," Allen said at the NFL owners meetings, per the Bay Area News Group, "that's on par with the quarterbacks in the division."

Got it?

Shaub = Kansas City's Alex Smith. Sure.

Shaub = San Diego's Philip Rivers. Meh.

Shaub = Denver's Peyton Manning. Um ...

If nothing else, Allen is a glass-half-full kind of guy. He has to be. After consecutive 4-12 seasons in which his teams folded spectacularly down the stretch both times, Allen knows this is a make-or-break type of year in which the Raiders need to show improvement.

And for the purposes of this discussion, it all begins under center ... with a new quarterback who is a two-time Pro Bowler coming off a nightmarish season. So what kind of quarterback does Allen prefer, exactly?

"Guys that can move the team down the field, guys who can put points on the board," Allen said. "I think there's certain qualities you look at in the quarterbacks that have been able to be successful over the years. I'm talking about guys like Drew Brees, who I was with [in New Orleans]. I'm talking about guys like Peyton Manning. I'm talking about guys like Tom Brady. Guys [whose] work ethic is unmatched; they're the first ones in the building, they're the last one to leave.

"They have the ability to process information quickly and they can throw the ball with timing and accuracy. And those are the things you have to be able to do to play the quarterback position."

And water is wet.

Of course, that's the goal of every team -- to find a franchise quarterback. It's been a tortuous journey for the Raiders the past three years as they've used first- and second-round picks (Carson Palmer), a third-round supplemental pick (Pryor), a fourth-round pick (Tyler Wilson) a fifth-round pick (Matt Flynn) and now a sixth-rounder (Schaub) in their search for a savior.

The new regime of Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie is responsible for the last three on the list.

"It's pretty obvious that we feel good about Matt Schaub as our starting quarterback," Allen said. "We feel comfortable with Matt McGloin as a back up. But we'll see what happens in the next few days, next couple weeks.

"Everybody has down seasons. Everybody has down years. It's not a shame to get knocked down; it's a shame to not get back up. [Schaub] is a guy that's been a two-time Pro Bowl player, he's been a top 10 quarterback in the National Football League over the last five years and we believe, and he believes, that he's still that. And I don't think that changes overnight, I really don't."

Schaub had a career-worst total quarterback rating of 43.65 last season, losing his starting job midway through the season and throwing 14 interceptions, including a stretch of four straight games with a pick-6, with 10 touchdowns and a 61.1 completion percentage rate.

"Do I think he's going to have a little bit of a chip on his shoulder? Yeah, I really do," Allen said. "I think there's going to be a little bit of added incentive for him to kind of prove what he can do? Yeah, I think there will be, and I think that's a good thing."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ken Whisenhunt's big assessment of Jake Locker will come after the new coach is in his post, not before.

Locker
At this stage, he's leaning on the opinion of the general manager, Ruston Webster, who picked him out more than the other way around.

"I really trust Ruston and his assessment of our team, and his staff, and I think that's part of the process," Whisenhunt said. "Plus, you can look at some of the things that he had on tape. Hopefully I'll get a chance to sit with him and talk with him, because that's a big piece of the puzzle too.

"Everything I've heard about Jake as far as a student of the game and how he works, has been positive. With the successful guys that I've been around, that's a big piece of it, so that'll help."

The question has never been about whether Locker will be on the roster in 2014 -- he's got a salary of just over $2 million and it's guaranteed. It's more about the quarterbacks Whisenhunt and the Titans are compelled to also have on the roster.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is heading into the second year of a two-year deal and Tyler Wilson was signed late in the season as a developmental guy. Rusty Smith is set to become a free agent.

Locker has said he's OK with competition so long as he's got a shot at claiming the starting job. I think he'd be wise to tell Whisenhunt in their first meeting that he intends to be the starter and will do whatever it takes to earn the role.

"I'm excited about the hire and looking forward to having the opportunity to work with coach Whisenhunt," Locker told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. "He has always had very successful offenses and I look forward to learning from him."
ALAMEDA, Calif. – When Greg Olson was hired in January to be the Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator, his quarterback was Carson Palmer.

Then the Raiders acquired Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks and traded Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals before drafting Tyler Wilson in the fourth round. Terrelle Pryor beat out Flynn for the starting job at the end of training camp and started eight of the Raiders’ first nine games, Flynn was cut after a disastrous start against Washington when Pryor was concussed, undrafted rookie Matt McGloin replaced Pryor when he went down with a sprained right knee and now Pryor will start the season finale against the Denver Broncos.

[+] EnlargeGreg Olson
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsGreg Olson has two quarterbacks in Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin with very different skill sets.
So from Olson’s perspective, just how challenging a task is it for him to put together game plans for two quarterbacks with such different skill sets as Pryor and McGloin possess?

“You knew that as you were approaching the season,” Olson said. “This is a plan: We’re going to give you kind of two different offenses per se. If you can keep the core group of players with you throughout the season, I think it’s much more manageable.

“I think schematically, although we were doing some more things with Terrelle in terms of him running the ball and running the read-arc and the arc-option things, there was a lot of it that carried over where, and I hate to get into the football aspect, but where the linemen knew that, ‘OK, on this particular play we may have to push back two defenders, but because Terelle has the option to pull it, we’re only going to push back one defender.’ There is some carryover, but I think it’s important that you have those guys, particularly the guys up front, staying consistent and having a consistent core of players up front.”

Flynn was supposed to be the franchise quarterback, but with a beat-up offensive line and Flynn’s sore arm, it was not a good fit.

“I think going into the season the position became unsettled and so we have an unsettled quarterback situation here,” Olson said. “I like to think [Pryor and McGloin] look at it as a great opportunity for ‘me’ to come in and prove that ‘I’ can play and ‘I’ can be that guy on this team.”

Olson was the Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterbacks coach in 2012, and compared the talent on their roster to what is on the Raiders’ roster. And with two young quarterbacks like Pryor and McGloin, it would be hard to expect much from them with the “talent” around them.

Still, coach Dennis Allen has already said that he thinks McGloin may have a future in Oakland. The evaluation of Pryor, meanwhile, continues this weekend.

“I think it just gives us a chance now to decide where exactly we’re at at the quarterback position, which we’ll discuss at the end of the season with management and ownership and what we feel like our needs are as a coaching staff and where we feel like these guys are at right now,” Olson said. “Right now, if we felt like either one of them was a certain number one we would be moving in that direction.

“Let’s understand that with these quarterbacks, Terrelle and Matt McGloin, they’re young quarterbacks and they can’t shoulder the load at this point. We have to make sure that there’s development there, at least, and if we feel like these are guys we can develop moving forward and maybe add some pieces to the puzzle around them, those would be the questions and the discussions that we’ll have in the offseason when this thing is all done.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick and Paul PoslusznyUSA Today SportsPaul Posluszny and the Jags are aiming for a season sweep of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tennessee.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Maybe Delanie Walker shouldn’t feel so bad now.

The Titans tight end said he was embarrassed after the Jaguars won 29-27 in Nashville on Nov. 10 to pick up their first victory. Since then, the Jaguars are 3-2 with victories over Houston (twice) and Cleveland. The Titans are 1-4 with a victory over Oakland.

There seems to be much more stability in Jacksonville, too, because of the uncertain status surrounding Tennessee coach Mike Munchak.

Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco and Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky break down Sunday’s matchup at EverBank Field.

DiRocco: Some Titans players were pretty vocal about being embarrassed due to becoming the first team to lose to the Jaguars. Is that something that still stings, and how have they rebounded from that loss?

Kuharsky: It definitely left a mark. They are only 1-4 since then. It kind of set a bar for how bad they can be and re-established their propensity to lose to teams that are really struggling. The Jaguars are on an upswing since that game, and the Titans are on a downward spiral. If Tennessee losses to the Jaguars again, the Titans will be in line to finish in third place in an awful division, which is well short of their goals and expectations. The Titans are a better team than they were last year. But losing closer isn’t a really big difference in the really big picture.

Let’s turn that around. How has life changed for the Jaguars since that Nov. 10 breakthrough?

DiRocco: I could go into a lot of stats that show how much better the Jaguars are playing, but that's not what's really important. The past six games have been more about the validation of the process, establishing the foundation of the franchise's rebuild, and confidence in the new regime. Coach Gus Bradley never wavered from the plan that he and general manager David Caldwell established. His message stayed the same throughout the eight-game losing streak to start the season: trust in the process, work hard, and focus on improving and not victories, and the victories will eventually come. Because that has happened, the players appear to have completely bought into what Bradley and Caldwell want to do, and there's a confidence in the locker room that the franchise is headed in the right direction.

We talked about Jake Locker the last time these teams met, but that was before he suffered a season-ending injury to his foot. How does that change the Titans' outlook on him and are they in the market for a quarterback in the offseason, too?

Kuharsky: Locker is certain to be on the 2014 Titans. His fourth year isn’t that costly and it’s guaranteed. But they can’t execute a spring option for his fifth year that would line him up for over $13 million. A lot of his fate depends on whether Munchak is back as the head coach. It’s possible they go forward with Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick and just-signed Tyler Wilson as their quarterbacks. It’s also possible they’d draft a new guy, and depending on how high of a pick he could land in competition to start. I think it’s less likely they chase a free agent like Jay Cutler if he comes free, but they have to assess all the possibilities. How can they completely commit to Locker based on his injury history?

One side effect of the Jaguars' surge is they aren’t going to be in position to draft the first quarterback taken. What’s your sense of what Bradley and Caldwell want in a quarterback and do you expect one to arrive in the first round?

DiRocco: Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said something interesting last week. He said he wants his QB to scramble around, take off running to get yards and take some chances throwing the football. To me, that sounds like a pretty accurate description of Johnny Manziel. I'm not sure how that reconciles with the ideas of his bosses. Bradley comes from Seattle, which has the mobile Russell Wilson. Caldwell comes from Atlanta, which has the considerably less mobile Matt Ryan. My sense is that Bradley and Caldwell probably lean more toward the Wilson end of the spectrum. People think that eliminates Teddy Bridgewater, but that's not the case. He's not a runner but he can run if needed. If he's around, I'd expect them to take him. If not, then I would still expect them to go quarterback. It's their most glaring need.

You mentioned Munchak's job status. What's your take on whether he will be back next season -- and should he be?

Kuharsky: He’s shepherded improvement, but his team lacks an ability to finish. He’s 0-4 in the worst division in football, 1-9 in the past two years. His teams have lost to the previously winless Jags in 2013 and the previously winless Colts in 2011. He’s 4-18 against teams with winning records when the Titans played them and 2-19 against teams that finished the season with a winning record. To me, three years is a sufficient sample size to know what you’ve got and those numbers are the most telling thing on his resume. Keep him and they deal with all the limitations connected to a lame duck coach. I don’t know what Tommy Smith, the head of the new ownership, will do. But the fan base overwhelmingly wants change, if that’s worth anything. People still pay for tickets because they’ve got investments in personal seat licenses they do not want to throw away. But a lot of people are staying home on Sundays now.

Cecil Shorts is done and Maurice Jones-Drew is uncertain. How can the Jaguars threaten on offense without their two best weapons?

DiRocco: They were able to put up 20 points and post their second-highest yardage total of the season, including a season-high 159 rushing, in last Sunday's loss to Buffalo. Running back Jordan Todman stepped up big time and ran for 109 yards (Jones-Drew cracked 100 only once in the first 13 games) and tight end Marcedes Lewis was more involved in the passing game than in previous weeks (four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown). But I'm not sure that is sustainable. Teams will certainly concentrate on stopping Lewis and make quarterback Chad Henne move the ball with three receivers who have a combined 75 career catches. Todman doesn't scare anyone, either. The Jaguars will have to be creative on offense (they've run gadget plays the past three weeks) and capitalize on every opportunity they get.

ALAMEDA, Calif. – Two mistakes, really, stand out when it comes to Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin’s play last week at the Dallas Cowboys.

There was the fumbled snap inside the Raiders 5-yard line that was recovered by the Cowboys and, one play later, Dallas converted into its first touchdown late in the first quarter to tie the game, 7-7.

[+] EnlargeMatt McGloin
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsRaiders QB Matt McGloin said he's determined not to repeat the same mistakes he made in a loss to Dallas last week.
Then there was McGloin’s ill-fated decision to throw a jump ball to the 5-foot-9 Jacoby Ford in the end zone that, had it been completed, would have tied the game at 28-28, with the extra point, midway through the fourth quarter. Instead it was intercepted by the 6-foot Brandon Carr, and the Cowboys went on to win, 31-24.

And as the Raiders prepare for the New York Jets, one of McGloin’s purported greatest strengths in his nascent NFL career is to learn from his mistakes.

“He’s been pretty good, as far as getting the ball out with timing, throwing the ball accurately,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “We’ve been able to get some explosive passes down the field, so I just really want to see him continue.

“He’s still a young player. Unfortunately for us, both the quarterbacks that we’ve played the majority of the season with are really relatively young at the position. You want to see those guys continue to grow.”

Truly, the only way McGloin and Terrelle Pryor can grow is by learning from their mistakes, right?

“I think so,” McGloin said. “I think any time you watch film or you watch your last game, you pick up on things that you can’t believe happened. Last week, the fumbled snap, I’ve been snapping with that guy [Stefen Wisniewski] since college. Things like that happen that shouldn’t have happened.”

Then what about the end zone pick?

“Another bad, bad mistake by me,” McGloin said. “It’s stuff like that that you can’t believe happened. But at the same time you learn from it and you gain experience from it. You keep improving and hope the next time those plays come around, you don’t make the same mistake twice.”

Because while the fumbled snap could be seen as a physical mistake, the throw to Ford was a mental miscue.

“It was just a bad decision by me.” McGloin said. “The matchup wasn’t great. Obviously, Jacoby isn’t the biggest guy in the world for a jump ball. Not taking anything away, he’s a great player for us. That just wasn’t a good decision by me. I have to make a better decision there.”

You could forgive McGloin for forcing the action. After all, he is an undrafted rookie who entered training camp as a fourth-stringer, behind Tyler Wilson, Pryor and Matt Flynn and is still trying to prove himself.

But while McGloin does pride himself on correcting his mistakes quickly, the key is employing said solutions on the field.

“You have to, especially at the quarterback position,” he said. “You have to learn from your mistakes and move on because everyone’s expecting you not to make the same mistake twice. If you do, you’re not going to be in a starting position for long.”

Just ask Flynn … or even Pryor.
IRVING, Texas -- The Oakland Raiders activated left tackle Jared Veldheer off the reserve/injured-designated to return list Wednesday in time to make his season debut Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Ayodele
Veldheer
But rather than cut another offensive lineman to make room for Veldheer, the Raiders waived rookie quarterback Tyler Wilson in the corresponding roster move.

Wilson was the Raiders' fourth-round draft pick and was initially cut before the preseason before clearing waivers and being signed to the practice squad. Wilson was then signed to the active roster Nov. 16.

It means the Raiders will enter the Thanksgiving Day game with two quarterbacks in starter Matt McGloin and backup Terrelle Pryor.

The Raiders' first-round draft pick, cornerback D.J. Hayden, is on injured reserve, while their second-rounder, offensive tackle Menelik Watson, was a healthy scratch last week. Third-round draft choice Sio Moore starts at linebacker.

Double Coverage: Raiders at Cowboys

November, 27, 2013
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Romo-RoachAP PhotoTony Romo's Cowboys host Nick Roach and the Raiders in a Thanksgiving Day duel.
IRVING, Texas -- For the second time in five years, the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders meet on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys won the 2009 matchup 24-7 with Tony Romo throwing for 309 yards and two touchdowns and Miles Austin catching seven passes for 145 yards. Since that game Austin has had more yards in a game just twice.

ESPN.com's Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez and Cowboys reporter Todd Archer bring you this week's holiday version of Double Coverage.

Todd Archer: The Cowboys are bad in most areas defensively, but they have given up 200 yards rushing in three games this season. The Raiders' strength, from afar, seems to be their running game. What makes it so good and how has it differed with Terrelle Pryor out?

Paul Gutierrez: Hey, Todd, it's not just Pryor being out, but also Darren McFadden, who has missed three straight games and four overall with a strained right hamstring. He said Monday night he hopes to play after practicing (limited) for the first time since Nov. 1. The run game, though, has not missed a beat with underrated Rashad Jennings picking up the slack. In the past four games, he has run for 413 yards while averaging 5.7 yards per carry. In fact, the running game has been so surprisingly solid without McFadden and Pryor that the play-action pass game has picked up with undrafted rookie Matt McGloin under center.

Speaking of passing games ... no doubt Tony Romo can rack up stats, but has he decided to assume more of a leadership role yet as the QB of America's Team, or is that just not in his makeup?

Archer: He has developed over the years as a leader, but there's no question that this has been "his" team the past three seasons. He is the veteran. He is the guy the Cowboys look to. The guys on this team now don't know of the Romo who burst on the scene in 2006 or had to deal with the Terrell Owens stuff. He's the guy who led the lockout practices and has been the big voice in the room. This year he has been given the added responsibility of being more involved in the game plan. The Cowboys' past two wins have come on last-minute drives led by Romo to beat Minnesota and the New York Giants. I don't think there's anybody questioning his leadership anymore. And if they did, well, the $106 million extension Jerry Jones gave him in the offseason should be more than enough proof to those guys that this is Romo's team.

Let's stick with the quarterback theme. Before the Cowboys lucked into Romo, they ran through a ton of guys after Troy Aikman's departure. Is there any reason to believe McGloin or Pryor can be a solution or do the Raiders need to go after one of these guys in next April's draft?

Gutierrez: Well, the way I put it earlier in the season, before Pryor hit his purported ceiling and sprained his right knee, robbing him of his greatest strength (running) while accentuating his biggest weakness (passing), if Pryor was not the Raiders' Mr. Right, he was their Mr. Right Now. McGloin is a pure quarterback, a pocket passer whom Dennis Allen prefers for what he wants to accomplish offensively. It's hard to give Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie much credit for their evaluation of QBs, though, what with their misses on Matt Flynn and Tyler Wilson, not caring much for Pryor early on and then, similar to the Cowboys with Romo, stumbling upon McGloin. But it's hard to see them going all in with the undrafted rookie from Penn State, too. At least hard at the moment. Unless McGloin continues to improve and wins a few games, it would behoove the Raiders to draft another QB if they see one as a can't-miss prospect. I know, I know, they really wanted USC's Matt Barkley but Philadelphia traded in front of them so they traded back and selected Wilson. Oops. There is no doubt, though, that this Raiders regime prefers McGloin as a prototypical QB over the more electric Pryor.

No matter who is under center for Oakland, though, the Raiders' QB is going to have to keep an eye on DeMarcus Ware. Is he rounding back into shape as a dominant pass-rusher, or is he more decoy as he rehabs from his quad strain?

Archer: I think he's still feeling his way through it. The fact that he made it through the Giants game healthy was a plus. He has been dinged up in just about every game with stinger and back strains earlier in the season before the quadriceps injury. We'll see how he fares on a short week, but the defense is a lot better with even the threat of Ware on the field. Jason Hatcher had two sacks against the Giants at least in part because of the attention Ware received. Ware has talked about wanting to make up for lost time. He has five sacks so far, his fewest this late in a season since his rookie year in 2005. Thursday would be a good time to look like the DeMarcus Ware of old.

This game is a homecoming of sorts for guys like Mike Jenkins, Andre Gurode, Kevin Burnett and Tony Sparano, but it's a real homecoming for Dennis Allen. How is he perceived in Oakland and will McKenzie be more patient with him than, say, Al Davis would have been?

Gutierrez: The jury, so to speak, is still out on Allen in the streets of Silver and Blackdom. Of course, when the Raiders win a game, he's the man. When he loses, the fans turn on him and start pining for Jon Gruden ... again. But isn't that the nature of the beast? Even Allen himself said this was a results-oriented business. Of course, he was referring to the quarterback position at the time, but it still applies. Make no mistake about it, Allen is McKenzie's "guy" and he's going to roll with him and have patience with him. The plan coming in was to give Allen at least three years to right this ship and really, the only thing that could damage Allen's chances of lasting another year would be if the team quit on him, like it did last November before playing hard again at the end. Then again, it might not be McKenzie's choice. Owner Mark Davis is a more patient owner than his father and wants McKenzie to handle all football-related decisions. But a year after stating he was fine with just about anything but regression, Davis wants progress. Stagnancy won't cut it, either. So, stay tuned.

Sticking with the coaching theme, is Jason Garrett in Jerry World for the long haul, or was Jerry Jones' support merely the dreaded vote of confidence?

Archer: Jerry has publicly backed Garrett, but he's also been a guy who's said, "Just because I say something, doesn't mean it's true." I do know this: He wants Garrett to be the guy. He desperately wants it to work. I really believe that. He believes in Garrett's approach and how he builds a team. Garrett will provide some blow-back to Jerry but not as much as, say, a Bill Parcells. Garrett knows what makes Jerry work and knows how to work around it to a degree or push Jerry in a certain direction. Honestly, Cowboys fans should want the Garrett deal to work out because it might be the best combination to mitigate the bad parts of Jerry and keep the good parts of Jerry.

Watson among inactives, Pryor active

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OAKLAND -- Rookie right tackle Menelik Watson is an apparent healthy scratch for the Oakland Raiders as Watson, who was not on the team’s injury report this week, is among their seven inactive players.

Terrelle Pryor's right knee, though, is healthy enough that he is active and will be Matt McGloin's backup at quarterback.

The Raiders will have more of their undrafted free agents starting against the Tennessee Titans -- three, McGloin, left guard Lucas Nix and receiver Rod Streater -- than players they have drafted over the past two years -- two, defensive tackle Stacy McGee and linebacker Sio Moore.

Here are the inactives for both teams:

Raiders: SS Tyvon Branch, DE Jason Hunter, RB Darren McFadden, OL Lamar Mady, WR Denarius Moore, OT Menelik Watson, QB Tyler Wilson

Titans: OT Byron Stingily, DT Mike Martin, QB John Skelton, WR Damian Williams, CB Micah Pellerin, C Kevin Matthews, LB Zac Diles

Raiders to miss Vick this week?

October, 28, 2013
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The Oakland Raiders will most likely not face Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on Sunday at the O.co Coliseum after Vick re-injured his left hamstring against the New York Giants.

Vick
Vick
"Mike didn’t seem like he was going to be ready this week," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Monday, according to ESPN.com Eagles reporter Phil Sheridan. "He felt like, the first time, that he was going to be back after the (Oct. 6) Giants game.

"This is the first time I’ve talked to him where he thought he may be out. We’ll see after we sit down and visit, after we get the final (MRI) results."

Vick, who originally injured the hamstring on Oct. 6, said he felt the hamstring "pop" when he went down this time.

If Vick is indeed out, the Raiders might face a quarterback they had their sites on in Matt Barkley. The Eagles traded in front of the Raiders at the start of the NFL draft’s fourth round this past April to select Barkley out of USC, which prompted Oakland to trade back and select Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson, who was later cut by the Raiders and re-signed to the practice squad.

Barkley replaced Vick on Sunday and completed 17 of 26 passes for 158 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times and fumbled three times, losing one, in the 15-7 loss to the Giants. Regular backup Nick Foles was out with a concussion suffered the week before.

“I wish I knew a lot more than I do now," Kelly said of his quarterbacks. "I don’t have the final answer right now."

Foles, according to Sheridan, was taking his concussion protocol tests Monday.

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders parting ways with quarterback Matt Flynn says more about the team acknowledging a mistake than the cost-conscious franchise trying to save a buck.

Because really, the only way the Raiders save any money is if another team signs Flynn, who has a $1.25 million base salary this year and a $5.25 million bonus. That makes $6.5 million for all of one start for Oakland in 2013.

The Raiders will take a salary cap hit of $2.625 million for 2014.

And while Oakland did give up a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft to Seattle as well as a 2015 conditional pick, the conditional pick reportedly is now void since Flynn will not meet certain playing incentives in being cut. A day after the Raiders acquired Flynn, they traded Carson Palmer to Arizona for draft picks that eventually became tight end Mychal Rivera and defensive end David Bass, who was cut in camp.

So where do the Raiders go from here at quarterback?

Terrelle Pryor is the unquestioned starter as coach Dennis Allen said he is “leaps and bounds ahead of where we thought he'd be at this time” as an NFL quarterback. His passer rating of 135.7 in the Raiders' 27-17 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night was the highest by a Raiders quarterback since Rich Gannon’s 138.9 against Tennessee on Sept. 29, 2002.

The Raiders also like undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, who surpassed Flynn on the depth chart last week, and Allen said fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson “has improved” since getting cut and being signed to the practice squad after 31 teams took a pass on him.

But they are not completely sold on so much inexperience under center.

“We’ll look,” Allen said. “We’ll always be looking in terms of what’s out there … and see if there's any options out there that can make us a better football team.”

Which is why the Raiders are bringing in David Carr, the top pick of the 2002 draft out of Fresno State by the Houston Texans, and, reportedly, Pat White, a second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2009, for workouts on Tuesday.

The Raiders had been linked to Josh Freeman, before reports of his signing with Minnesota surfaced Sunday night.

“If he could come in and help, come in and help,” Pryor said.

He was referring to Freeman, but he very well could have been talking about any other free agent quarterback currently on the market who catches Oakland's fancy.
Reggie McKenzie has often said his plan to bring the Oakland Raiders back to relevance is through the draft.

For a team that has been in salary-cap jail and that hasn’t had a winning record in 11 years, the draft is the way to go. However, this weekend, McKenzie showed his plan is not without its obstacles.

Oakland reportedly is cutting fourth-round pick, quarterback Tyler Wilson. Saturday, the Raiders cut seventh-round pick, defensive end David Bass. Bass was claimed on waivers by Chicago on Sunday. Also, guard Tony Bergstrom (who was McKenzie’s first pick in Oakland last year) was put on the injured reserve Saturday after making no contribution as a rookie.

As for Bass, it is not unusual for a team to cut a seventh-round pick. However, the Raiders are so thin every draft pick should be kept. If not, the pick has to be questioned.

Also, coach Dennis Allen recently said the team was counting on Bass, and this is a team desperate for pass-rush help. Thus, the drafting of Bass has to be considered a mistake.

The Wilson situation is a downright disaster. Yes, I realize the Raiders are keeping undrafted free-agent quarterback Matt McGloin. He may have a nice future. But the Wilson-McGloin move is not a wash.

A thin team like Oakland cannot afford to cut a fourth-round pick. They needed to get a future starter with the pick.

I almost certainly expect Wilson, who was given a meaty signing bonus by the cap-strapped Raiders a month ago, to be claimed. Quarterback is such a high-priority position and there will likely be a few teams that had a high grade on Wilson that will want to give him a chance with a waiver claim.

Again, Oakland has to hit on its picks. McKenzie and Allen are on record saying as much. Sending valuable picks to waivers is not the way to build a roster through the draft.
Most significant moves: The Raiders were one of the more intriguing teams in the NFL on cut-down day because they have so many holes and ongoing competitions. There were a lot of significant moves. The Raiders are desperate for pass-rushers, and they cut two who were expected to make contributions. Veteran Andre Carter (expected to be a leader on a young team) and seventh-round pick David Bass were cut. Coach Dennis Allen recently said the team was counting on Bass. Tight end Richard Gordon had a chance to start, particularly because he is a good blocker on a team with a bad offensive line, but he was cut. Jeron Mastrud is the starter for now with David Ausberry coming back from a shoulder injury. The punting battle has yet to be settled. Both veteran Chris Kluwe and youngster Marquette King were kept. Either Oakland will let the two battle it out another week or cut one of them when the team makes roster additions. Perhaps the Raiders are even trying to swing a trade. Since King has made it this far, he might stick around. The team wanted to see improved consistency and he has shown it.

Crowded quarterback room: The Raiders are keeping four quarterbacks. The team kept both fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson of Arkansas and undrafted free agent Matt McGloin of Penn State. It would be highly unusual for a team to keep four quarterbacks. Some just keep two. That’s three players who most likely won’t be playing on game day. That is not ideal for a team with major depth issues. McGloin outperformed Wilson and became the No. 3 quarterback. But the decision to keep Wilson comes down to the Raiders not waiting to give up on a quarterback who was a fourth-round pick. I understand. It would be admitting a huge mistake, and perhaps Wilson (many thought he could push to start as a rookie during the offseason) will figure things out. Keeping four quarterbacks adversely affects this roster. The truth is, none of the current quarterbacks in Oakland -- including Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor -- may be the ultimate answer for the franchise. But the Raiders are reluctant to make any decisions now.

What’s next: The Raiders are thin and will likely look for players for the next several weeks. I would not be surprised if this team adds four or five players this week. Prime need areas are tight end, the offensive line and pass-rusher. There are a lot of interesting tight ends available, including Tony Moeaki (talented, but injured), D.J. Williams (who was in Green Bay with Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie) and Clay Harbor. Possible offensive line targets include Jake Scott and Danny Watkins.

Players cut: DE Andre Carter, LB Omar Gaither, CB Joselio Hanson, T Tony Hills, S Reggie Smith, DL Ryan Baker, DE David Bass, LB Billy Boyko, CB Chance Casey, G Jason Foster, TE Richard Gordon, WR Greg Jenkins, S Shelton Johnson, TE Brian Leonhardt, G Lamar Mady, K Justin Medlock, DT Kurt Taufa'asau, LB Chase Thomas, WR Conner Vernon, RB Deonte Williams and T Willie Smith. G Tony Bergstrom was put on injured reserve. WR Andre Holmes is serving a four-game NFL suspension.
Random thoughts on non-Terrelle Pryor news from the Oakland Raiders' 22-6 loss at Seattle on Thursday night:

It was another lackluster preseason game for Oakland. Yes, it’s only the preseason. But the Raiders' first units have not been great. Oakland's first team played mostly against Seattle second-teamers and couldn’t keep up. The Raiders did some things better on defense, especially up front. But it was against the second team.

Rookie Menelik Watson had his moments at left tackle, in his first game there ever. I could see him getting the call for Week 1 at Indianapolis.

Just a feeling, but I think Marquette King beats Chris Kluwe for the punting job. The Raiders gave King a lot of chances and even used him at holder. If it’s a tie, go with the young, talented guy. I give King credit for rising to the challenge.

Jeron Mastrud played a lot with the starters and he could be the favorite to be the starting tight end. David Ausberry (shoulder) should be back soon.

Rookie quarterback Tyler Wilson played in the fourth quarter and was not very good. He has been slotted behind undrafted rookie Matt McGloin all preseason. Still, I’d be surprised if Wilson is cut ahead of Saturday's deadline to reduce the roster to 53 players. It will be interesting to see what happens.

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