"The suspension really screwed me," Pryor said. "The way I came out of college and my mistakes screwed me. But right now, I'm in a good place because I'm learning from the best and I'm only going to get better, a lot better. If I can just keep on figuring out this progression thing and having my internal clock running with my feet, I can be good. I can be great."
Although Pryor has a ways to go before he can be considered a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL, the Raiders' inevitable decline in 2012 will likely earn him a shot.
Pryor's speed and athleticism for a 6'4" signal caller are rare, and he presents much more of a dual-threat under center than Carson Palmer or fellow backup Matt Leinart.
Starting quarterback Carson Palmer looked like a nervous rookie throughout 2011, throwing 16 interceptions and just 13 touchdowns in 10 games.
Oakland was 7-4 and eyeing a playoff spot heading into December, but the Raiders fell apart down the stretch, highlighted by Palmer's five combined interceptions in three straight losses.
From Week 13 through Week 15, Palmer boasted an average quarterback rating of 77.5, and the Raiders lost by a combined 51 points in those three games.
Will Terrelle Pryor start at least one game in 2012?
That's where Pryor's confidence comes in. His dedication in practice and lack of exposure will make him the coaching staff's first choice to start if and when Palmer struggles.
Palmer has 116 career interceptions in 107 career regular season games played. The 32-year-old is turnover-prone to say the least, and the Raiders simply aren't good enough to overcome that sort of careless football.
Struggles are all but guaranteed this season. The Raiders will, once again, be in over their heads in 2012. With road games against the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons, and home games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints in the first 12 weeks of the season, Oakland can only dream of starting out 7-4 again this fall.
It certainly won't happen right away, but as the season wears on and the Raiders' porous defense and shaky quarterback begin to fail them, Pryor's confidence will pay off with an opportunity to start in 2012.
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