ALAMEDA Evasive action is a big reason Terrelle Pryor is expected to start at quarterback in the Raiders' season opener, and it was a skill he needed verbally Wednesday.
"I'm preparing like I always do to be the starter," Pryor said. "Coach told the team that he's addressed you guys about the situation. He doesn't want me talking about it. Let coach answer that."
With all signs pointing toward Pryor at quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, coach Dennis Allen is firm in the belief that not naming the starter gives him a possible competitive advantage.
"If I didn't think there was, I wouldn't do it," Allen said.
When the Raiders took the field Wednesday in the portion of practice open to reporters, Pryor went through drills with the first team, although if Allen wanted to carry the shell game to the extreme, Matt Flynn could have emerged with the first group once reporters left.
"We have a plan, and I've addressed where we're at and what I'm doing with the quarterback situation," Allen said. "We have to move on from that, and one will play when we go out there on Sunday."
Colts coach Chuck Pagano gave validity to Allen's strategy in a conference call with Bay Area reporters.
"It is easier (to prepare) when you come out and say who the guy is," Pagano said. "You deal with and you get the plays in that feel like you're going to see. We know that both guys are capable and we know both guys can beat you. We'll do our due diligence throughout the week in preparation for the game and prepare to face whoever lines up under center."
Pryor said his mindset has been to go into every game as if he's taking the first snap.
"I prepared even back in my first year when Carson (Palmer) first came in, and last year when I was nowhere in sight to even play," Pryor said. "I still studied, was in the room with him and tried to understand defenses and get better. Whatever the chance is, I'll be ready."
Pagano acknowledged Pryor's skill set presents a challenge.
"The guy is an excellent athlete," he said. "We know that he's a big, strong guy who is incredibly mobile. He can create, make all the throws and launch one a country mile."
Notes Offensive tackle Menelik Watson tweaked a knee during practice and did not finish. Allen said he did not know the extent of the injury. If Watson cannot play, Allen said Khalif Barnes likely would move from right tackle to Watson's spot on the left side and Tony Pashos would man the right side.
Players who did not practice were tight end David Ausberry (shoulder), offensive tackle Jared Veldheer (triceps) and kicker Sebastian Janikowski (calf). Allen said Janikowski will kick against the Colts. Ausberry was catching passes from a trainer with a brace on his arm and appears unlikely to play. Veldheer will not play.
Indianapolis wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who signed a one-year, $3 million contract after Oakland released him to avoid paying a $7.7 million salary, got rave reviews from Pagano and quarterback Andrew Luck.
"He's been outstanding from the first day he walked in the building until this morning's walk-through," Pagano said. "I'd be shocked if he doesn't have an outstanding season."
Said Luck: "He's a really awesome teammate. A tireless worker. I think he's going to do great things for us this season."