"We definitely need to see some of these younger guys play," said Dennis Allen. "Offensvie line-wise, Tony Bergstrom is a guy we want to see play a little bit more. We've seen a lot more of [Rod] Streater and [Juron] Criner from the wide receiver position. Streater, really, the last couple of games has made some big plays for us. That's good to see him from a young player's perspective. Obviously getting Phillip Adams a little bit more at corner. I think as we go along, these last three games, we really need to evaluate some of these young guys and see what we have going forward into next year."
With regard to Streater and Adams, they have been thrust into the starting lineup and have shown themselves to be as much or more than the coaches could have hoped for. The past two games, the two of them have been standouts for a team bereft of outstanding performances.
Streater has had 196 yards and a touchdown in the past two weeks and Adams has had an interception in each game as well as some good coverage and passes defended.
The team doesn't seem to know exactly where Bergstrom will fit on the offensive line. Initially he was drafted as the team's future left guard but with Cooper Carlisle still playing well, Bergstrom has been unable to see the field at that position. They have been trying him as an extra tackle eligible to see if he can perhaps offensive tackle is in his future. He has not stood out in that role thus far.
And then there's Terrelle Pryor. There's always Terrelle Pryor. He was inactive as the team's third string emergency quarterback through the first 11 games of the season. He has been active the past two weeks but not seen the field.
"We haven't discussed specifically as far as (whether) we'd work it on a series basis," said Allen of playing Pryor. "We've got a package of plays that we've had up and available the last couple of weeks to get Terrell in the game. I think at some point we'll get him in the game and have a package of plays for him to run."
Both Greg Knapp and Dennis Allen have stated that there are packages in place for Pryor but those situation has not presented itself to implement them. One can assume that "situation" is a lead. Or at very least, not a large deficit. But as the season wears on, the want to get him some playing time could outweigh the right situation to present itself.
"I think the biggest thing is to start getting him into the game a little bit and let him see a little game action. I'm not ready to say that he'd be a starter," said Allen. "I think Carson, obviously, he's made a couple of mistakes the last couple of weeks, but yet, Carson's been one of the reasons why, specifically earlier in the year why we had a chance in certain games. I'm not down on Carson at all. Obviously we want to see some of these younger guys play."
Aside from these headliners, there are also guys like Christo Bilukidi, Brandian Ross, Keenan Clayton, and Kaelin Burnett who are getting some long looks from the coaching staff as they prepare for evaluating which players at which position should be brought in to making this team competitive again.
They are the youth of the nation.