NFL coaches can be difficult to please in the preseason. But there was no mistaking a hint of satisfaction in the voice of Raiders coach Dennis Allen on Saturday as he discussed an exhibition victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
After a season in which game plans often went awry, the Raiders carried out a plan of attack in all three phases of the game in a 19-17 win Friday night.
"For the first preseason game I was really pleased with the execution of our team," Allen told reporters by conference call. "We played the game physical. I thought we were able to control the clock on offense.
"A lot of times, these preseason games can get sloppy. For the first preseason game, the execution and attention to detail was pretty good."
The Raiders committed just four penalties for 35 yards, caught the ball better than they had through much of training camp and got a solid all-around effort from special teams.
Another plus was the Raiders came out of the game healthy, with only an undisclosed injury to linebacker and special-teams player Keenan Clayton. Allen didn't consider the injury serious.
With a difficult test coming Friday night at New Orleans, Allen wants to see more intelligent football. He cited a late-game offensive sequence in which the Raiders didn't burn enough time while ahead and an end-zone interception thrown by Terrelle Pryor.
"We have to continue to learn how to play in situations playing the game smart," Allen said.
Pryor, who it appears will get playing time even if Matt Flynn retains the starting quarterback job, was immediately counseled about his error after the interception on a forced pass on third and four at the Cowboys' 6-yard line.
"That's been one thing we've consistently talked to Terrelle about," Allen said. "In those situations, don't be afraid to use your legs. Not every play has to be a great play; not every play has to be a spectacular play. Sometimes the best play is to make the easy throw, keep yourself on schedule."
Notes Allen, who complimented third-string quarterback Matt McGloin on his poise, said it was too early to say whether the Raiders would consider keeping four quarterbacks on the roster.
Guard Lucas Nix, who returned to practice last week but didn't play against Dallas, has an injury Allen doesn't consider serious.
Allen said starting guard Tony Bergstrom acquitted himself well as a pass blocker Friday but needs to be more stout in the running game.
Guard Mike Brisiel likely will be rested today at practice after a subpar performance against Dallas, Allen said.
Defensive end Ryan Robinson, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, will get more of a look after showing some pass-rushing ability against Dallas. The same goes for undrafted free-agent rookie safety Chance Casey from Baylor. Allen said Casey played well Friday.
Cornerback Phillip Adams raised his level of play in the secondary, Allen said. Cornerback Taiwan Jones still needs work at a new position but continues to excel on special teams, Allen said.