NAPA, Calif. - Ever since arriving in Oakland in April, Matt Flynn has proven on the practice field and in the meeting rooms that he is the most capable candidate to start at quarterback for the Raiders.
Unless that changes in the exhibition games that start tonight at home against Dallas, Flynn will be under center when the regular season begins Sept. 8 in Indianapolis.
Flynn will start against the Cowboys and will likely play the first quarter. Terrelle Pryor will follow and could play the bulk of the next two quarters before rookies Matt McGloin and Tyler Wilson finish up the preseason opener for Oakland.
Dallas has no questions about who will start at quarterback this season after giving Tony Romo a six-year, $108 million contract with $55 million guaranteed in the offseason.
Romo did not play in the Hall of Fame game against Miami last Sunday as he is working his way back from surgery in April to remove a cyst in his back. But he is expected to play briefly against the Raiders as he works in a game for the first time under new offensive coordinator Bill Callahan.
"More than anything you just want to have good execution," Romo said. "You want to be able to do things. You're not game planning per se and having the stuff that you're really going to attack certain coverages and certain teams a certain way. So you get a little vanilla with what you may call. You'd like to get into a rhythm, but I just think we need to go out there and execute the right way and do things that we feel good about as far as doing our assignments right and getting through stuff quickly and just not having any mental errors."
Romo's most trusted receiver, Jason Witten, is hoping for a better trip to Oakland this preseason than the one he had last year. Witten sustained a "slightly lacerated" spleen when he was hit by Rolando McClain after catching a pass in the first quarter.
Witten remained in the game before the injury was diagnosed and missed the rest of the preseason before coming back for the season opener. Witten recovered to catch a career-high 110 passes last season.
"That was just a situation that happened when you play," Witten said.
"I don't think you worry about that. It's just an unfortunate situation. But we've run that play a lot of times and never had that come up. I can't really think about it. It was a long three weeks. I know that. But I'm a better person, a better player because of it for sure."
Kick off in Oakland is scheduled for 9 p.m. Central time.
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