by Matt Kawahara
NAPA -- Flashing in training camp is nice, but for those players who are not locks to make the Raiders' 53-man roster, Monday's preseason opener against Dallas is the first of four opportunities to make a real lasting impression on head coach Dennis Allen.
"You play the game under the lights and that's when it counts, so we obviously are going to weigh these very heavily," Allen said of the Raiders' four preseason games.
"It's kind of like being in college and you get some homework assignments -- that's like practice. They count and it's part of your grade, but you're going to take your mid-term and you're going to take your final, and those are going to weigh the heaviest. That's how I look at that."
The Raiders held an abbreviated practice today in advance of tomorrow's game with a lot of walk-through components. Allen still isn't saying how long he plans to play his starters against the Cowboys. He did say the quarterback order will go Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Terrelle Pryor and that running back Darren McFadden is "going to get his plays and his touches."
Running backs Mike Goodson (neck) and Taiwan Jones (hamstring) will not play, so Lonyae Miller will be next up behind McFadden, followed by fullbacks Marcel Reece and Rashawn Jackson.
Asked what positions he'll be keeping an eye on, Allen said: "I want to see how the tight end position shakes out. I want to see where we're at there. I want to see where we're at from a defensive back standpoint, especially at the cornerback position from a depth standpoint. So those are a couple positions. I'm interested to see how the (offensive) line shakes out with some of those young players when they have a chance to get in."
Brandon Myers (shoulder) was not participating in practice Sunday, and his absence leaves Richard Gordon and David Ausberry the top options right now at tight end. At cornerback, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa are hovering behind projected starters Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell, with veteran Pat Lee also recently making a push for more playing time.
* Rookie linebacker Mario Kurn and receiver Duke Calhoun both will require season-ending knee surgery after suffering ACL injuries in practice Saturday, Allen said. Kurn was injured on a punt coverage drill and Calhoun had his knee buckle while trying to make a cut running a route.
* With the Raiders approaching their first competitive play, Allen was asked how he feels about the progress made so far. "I'll say we're not where we need to be right now, but I have seen significant progress and I'm extremely pleased with the way the guys are working."
* Allen also said that he's looking forward to his first game as an NFL head coach, but didn't sound like a man caught up in the moment. "I think once you get into the flow of the game, my focus is just going to be on managing the game and making the right decisions to put our guys in the best position to have success," he said. "That's what the head coach's responsibility is and that's what I'm going to be prepared to do."
* Linebacker Aaron Curry is still in Los Angeles, where he is receiving a series of treatments by a specialist attempting to address his ailing knees.
* Receivers Denarius Moore and Eddie McGee, both battling hamstring injuries, will not play Monday. Also missing from practice Sunday were punter Shane Lechler (knee) and tackle Zach Hurd (head).