ALAMEDA -- Evasive action is a big reason why Terrelle Pryor is expected to be the starting quarterback when the Raiders open the regular season, and it was a skill he needed in verbal sense 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 as quarterback against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, 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 the media, 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 the premises.

"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.


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"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 mentality 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," Pagano 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."

  • Left tackle Menelik Watson tweaked a knee during practice and did not finish.

    "I don't know the extent of it," Allen said. "We'll find out later."

    If Watson was unable to play, Allen said the likely move would be to have Khalif Barnes move to left tackle with Tony Pashos playing on the right side.

    Other players who did not practice were tight end David Ausberry (shoulder), offensive tackle Jared Veldheer (triceps) and place-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 but remains on the 53-man roster.

  • Indianapolis wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who signed a one-year, $3 million contract after being released by the Raiders 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. "He's been unbelievable. He's an extremely hard worker who did not miss a day of our offseason program.

    "I'd be shocked if he doesn't have an outstanding season."

    Said Luck on a conference call: "He's a really awesome teammate. A tireless worker. It's been very impressive. I think he's going to do great things for us this season."

  • Team captains for the opener will be fullback Marcel Reece, defensive end Lamarr Houston and long-snapper Jon Condo.

  • The Raiders were 6-26 when Pagano was Oakland's defensive backfield coach under Norv Turner in 2005 and Art Shell in 2006, but he has fond memories of working under Al Davis.

    "The most memorable moments were spent with Mr. Davis," Pagano said. "It was an honor to work under a man, a legend and an icon that he is and was. I learned so much from him. When my career is over and done, I'll always look back on those moments."

    For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on Twitter at twitter.com/Jerrymcd.

    SUNDAY'S OPENER
    Raiders at Indianapolis,
    10 a.m. CBS