New energy surrounds Raiders as OTAs begin
Quarterback Matt Flynn is atop the depth chart for the Raiders as they begin OTAs (USA TODAY IMAGES)
ALAMEDA -- Some notes, quotes and observations from the Raiders' first OTA practice of 2013…
* No. 1 quarterback Matt Flynn looked composed and threw a spiral that was just as pretty as it was accurate, rookie fourth-rounder Tyler Wilson still chucked the hardest ball and Terrelle Pryor looked as though he was forcing things as he was very inconsistent with his throws. A lot of wayward balls and uneven passes. And if you had Pryor throwing the first interception of OTAs, on a wobbly throw over the middle picked by Brandian Ross, vie yourself an old school WWF-inspired Barry Horowitz pat on the back.
* Speaking of Ross, as expected, he has been converted to a safety from cornerback. "When you bring him in as a corner, you let him go out there and you see how they do," said coach Dennis Allen. "Their skill set, at the end of the day, dictates that. Guys like Brandian Ross, can go out there and play corner in this league and be able to hold up, but his skill set probably lends him a little bit more valuable as a safety."
* And Tony Bergstrom, the first draft pick of the Raiders' regime of general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen, is now a left guard. Bergstrom, who played right guard last season, was working there with the first-team offense. "That was something when we drafted him, that was kind of our long term vision for what we saw in him that he would be a guard and he's been a nice fit there at the guard so we'll see how it plays out through the off-season," Allen said. "We plan on mixing and matching that a bit and just seeing who stands out."
* A look, then, at the Raiders' first-team offense on the first day of OTA practice: left tackle Jared Veldheer, left guard Bergstrom, center Stefen Wisniewski, right guard Mike Brisiel, right tackle Khlaif Barnes, tight end David Ausberry, receivers Rod Streater and Denarius Moore, quarterback Flynn, fullback Marcel Reece, running back Darren McFadden.
* And a look at the Raiders' first-team defense: left defensive end Jason Hunter, defensive tackles Vance Walker and Pat Sims, right defensive end Lamarr Houston, weakside linebacker Sio Moore, middle linebacker Nick Roach, strongside linebacker Kaluka Maiava, cornerbacks D.J. Hayden and Mike Jenkins, free safety Usama Young and strong safety Tyvon Branch.
* So yeah, Houston has flipped to the more predominant speed-rush side of the line. "And then when you look at, there's some different things we can do to try to create some pass rush," Allen said. "I also look at a guy like Andre Carter who missed half the season last year coming off the injury and so having him with us for the whole off-season and being able to go through OTAs and mini-camp, I would expect he would give us a little more in that area, too."
* Miles Burris and Josh Cribbs were both observers having undergone offseason knee surgeries, respectively, while rookie tight end Nick Kasa (hamstring) and veteran cornerback Tracy Porter (calf) id not finish practice due to injury.
* Two undrafted rookies -- quarterback Kyle Padron and running back Deonte Williams -- were not in attendance per NFL rules as their respective classes at Eastern Washington and Cal Poly had yet to graduate.
* Everyone else on the Raiders' 90-man offseason roster was in attendance, even kicker Sebastian Janikowski. It was interesting to note, though, the absence of owner Mark Davis and McKenzie. Might they already be courting Charles Woodson off campus, so to speak? Well, Davis was at the league meetings in Boston. But as far as Janikowski's showing up? "That is something we talked about," Allen said. "I called him really at the start of the off-season program and kind of laid out a plan for him. He won't be here for every single OTA, we have a plan for him to be here. The great thing about it is that he wanted to, it wasn't something he fought, it was something he was all on-board for saying Coach anything you want me to do, I will be there. So, that's the great thing about these guys is that they want to be a part of it, they want to be involved in it."
[Gutierrez: What's the wild card in wooing of Woodson?]
* The camp battle at punter is going to be a good one. Recent signee Chris Kluwe put on a clinic with his coffin corner kicks, pinning the returners. Marquette King, meanwhile, was working on an Australian rules-style kick that had the ball traveling high and end over end. The result was two straight drops by the returners≥