In Columbus, Ohio, the mention of Terrelle Pryor makes many Buckeye fans cringe. They believe he brought a bad attitude, school sanctions and zero national championships. He is villainized by local Columbus radio stations who act like he was the first player at Ohio State to get free tattoos or privileges.
You can call him many things: brash, cocky, abrasive—and all that may be true. What also is true is that he won at Ohio State with no offensive line, bad offensive coaching and raw athletic talent.
Terrelle Pryor managed to win a lot of games at Ohio State without ever learning how to play quarterback. He cannot read defenses, has bad feet and does not live in the playbook.
While that information is true, what is also true is that Jim Tressel let that go on. Even the best coach cannot control what his athletes do and Jim Tressel could only do so much in developing a person’s character, but how about developing a quarterback?
Sometimes, simply looking at what other teams have done can keep a team from having to reinvent the wheel. The Miami Dolphins were in a predicament in the '80s in which they had Dan Marino on the team with another QB named Jim Jensen, who played for Boston University before being drafted by the Dolphins. He played with them from 1981 to 1992.
He played for 12 years in the NFL as an "athlete." He was a football player similar to what Josh Cribbs is to the Browns. Josh Cribbs and James Jensen share a common thread—each is too good of an athlete not to use. When putting the best 22 players on the field, Jensen, Cribbs and Pryor need to be in the mix.
Jensen was a wide receiver, running back and quarterback. He was drafted as a quarterback but with the addition of Dan Marino he quickly decided to earn his living serving as Batman’s utility belt for the Dolphins.
He was on special teams and was a threat all over the field. Terrelle Pryor has more strength, speed and natural ability than Jensen could dream of and is wasted languishing as the third-string QB.
Terrelle Pryor’s athletic ability is off the charts but his inability to play quarterback is also off the charts currently. The Raiders have two solid veterans in place in Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart and can afford to develop Pryor.
If the Raiders take a season or two to develop Pryor they will have one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL…if he puts in the work. While Pryor develops at QB there is no reason he cannot help the team in other areas.
Terrelle Pryor is literally one of the fastest players on the Raiders' team with enough strength to easily push linebackers aside as evident in the preseason opener. If the Raiders are going to save a roster spot for Terrelle he has to prove to be more useful to the team. Give him a package of plays as receiver, quarterback and keep him on special teams. He is too talented not to use while he develops.
Pryor could create a mismatch against linebackers and could be the embodiment of the “slash” that Kordell Stewart had become. Terrelle Pryor is all of 6’6" 240lbs and runs in the 4.3’s.
He is one of the best 22 players on the Raiders if used correctly. The question is does Terrelle Pryor have the heart to play more than just quarterback or is his ego too big to give up exclusively playing QB?
Matt Cassel, Matt Flynn and Aaron Rodgers all had to hold a clipboard while they waited their turn, but Terrelle Pryor has the ability to contribute on game day while learning the position. He would learn more playing receiver and reading defenses that way than he would holding a clipboard as the third team quarterback.
I hope that the Oakland coaching staff has considered what Pryor could bring to the team outside of squatting under center. For the first time in Terrelle Pryor’s life he is not “the man." If he wants his NFL dream to continue he must embrace becoming a more well-rounded football player.
If Oakland recognizes what they have and Terrelle has the heart to work he could be electrifying for Raider nation. The fans in Oakland already are energized when he strides onto the field—and he is nowhere near his full potential. Pryor’s game could be one like Ben Roethlisberger's where he is most dangerous creating plays outside the pocket and garner extra time.
He could grow into the biggest monster in the black hole.