Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
As chronicled this week, the Raiders were starting several young players for the first time in this game. It gave head coach Dennis Allen a chance to see what the team has in them. Here is his observation.
The most important first start was Terrelle Pryor at quarterback. Pryor admitted his play was a "mixed bag" and Dennis Allen was honest in his assessment of the young quarterback's play.
"The athleticism was good," said Allen. "At times he threw the ball really well. I think there were a few accuracy issues that he could've been better on. I would've like to see him get out of bounds there before the half to give us an opportunity to try a long field goal. Then again, he made some plays. The scramble late in the game and hitting Denarius Moore in the back of the end zone, that was a heck of a football play. With Terrelle, with any young quarterback, you take a little bit of the good with the bad. Overall, I thought not bad."
The next to get his first start was rookie third round pick Tony Bergstrom. He was drafted to play guard and had been used as a utility guard in camp and the preseason. But with starters Cooper Carlisle and Mike Brisiel entrenched at their positions, Bergstrom was also getting work at offensive tackle where he played in college.
Brisiel injured his ankle last week and was inactive for the game which opened the door for the Raiders top pick in the 2012 draft to get the start. Also seeing some time in rotation was undrafted rookie, Lucas Nix who was listed as Brisiel's backup on the Raiders depth chart. It was the first game this season Nix was active for a game. Dennis Allen got good looks at both young offensive lineman.
"We wanted to get Tony in there and see what he could do," said Allen. "We also worked Lucas Nix in there. Both of those guys got in there and got a chance to play right guard which was food for two young guys that we feel good about moving forward. Overall I thought they did a nice job. Without really seeing the tape it's hard to evaluate. I thought we did a nice job with the protection up front. We'll evaluate the tape and have a better feel for how they did."
Allen was asked why he opted for a rotation at guard instead of just going with Bergstrom the entire game.
"We like Lucas Nix. He's a guy that we've been watching as the year has gone on. It was one of those opportunities in this last game that we wanted to see him get in so we would have an evaluation of hinm in a real NFL game going into the offseason. Without looking at the tape, I thought both of them did fairly well."
The other young player to get his first start was cornerback Brandian Ross. While Allen was not asked about Ross and didn't mention him, he had said earlier this week that he really likes what he sees in Ross. The young former Packer played a good game overall but his big mistake was getting burnt by Chargers receiver Denario Alexander for a 34-yard touchdown catch.