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.
Following a season where games often went sideways or backwards in terms of the best laid plans, the Raiders carried out a plan of attack in all three phases of the game in a 19-17 win Friday night.
"I thought for the first preseason game I was really pleased with the execution of our team," Allen told Bay Area 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 had just four penalties for 35 yards, caught the ball better than they have 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 in New Orleans, Allen wants to see more intelligent football, citing an offensive sequence where the Raiders didn't burn enough clock time late in the game with a lead and an end zone interception by quarterback 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 job, was immediately counseled about his error after the interception on a forced pass at the Cowboys 6-yard line on third-and-4.
"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."