5 Things Terrelle Pryor Must Improve on
Terrelle Pryor had his best showing as a Raiders quarterback against the Lions in Oakland's third preseason game of the year. He was 3 for 5 for 137 yards and had two touchdowns. He also rushed for 90 yards on five carries and got another touchdown on the ground.
Pryor has the potential to be a star in this league, but like head coach Dennis Allen likes to say about most every player, "There is still a lot of work to do." Pryor and the Raider Nation should be excited about his performance against the Lions because this is why he was drafted. Pryor is an electrifying playmaker that can take over a game or change it's outcome with one or two plays.
Can Pryor be the Raiders quarterback of the future? I believe he can if he is patient and works on a few things. Let's take a look at five things he can work on to improve.
If Pryor can work more on his accuracy there is no doubt that he'll be a starter in this league. He has to be able to make the right decisions in the NFL. This isn't the Big Ten anymore as defenses are more complicated and the players are stronger, faster, and much bigger than in college.
Pryor threw an interception that was called back due to a penalty against the Lions. He tried forcing the ball into coverage and the ball was picked. That is a great play to get on film right now to show him that there could have been other safer options.
Pryor made a great play on the long touchdown pass to Juron Criner. The initial receiver was supposed to be the fullback, but he looked at the safety and the safety bit down on the crossing route giving Criner a one on one with the cornerback. Pryor read this well and gave his receiver a chance to make a play. Pryor rolled out, threw the ball and 76 yards later the Raiders scored another touchdown.
Knowing when to throw the ball away instead of forcing the pass or taking a sack for a huge loss will also be important for Pryor's success in the NFL.
Pryor made some outstanding plays with his feet against the Lions, but he's going to have to learn how to stand in the pocket and move around without running all of the time.Defenses in the NFL will start to adjust to his running abilities eventually and figure out ways to stop him and contain him.
He's got a strong arm and showed his accuracy vs the Lions so he needs to be patient. If he can learn to move around the pocket and give his receivers time to get open he can be very dangerous.
He doesn't have to run every time he gets out of the pocket as he can extend the plays outside the pocket. Pryor has a gift and has said he'll do anything to help his team win whether it's run or pass. If he can be patient enough to do both well he can be a great quarterback.
Getting in and out of the Huddle
One thing that Pryor did very will with against the Lions is getting the play called and getting his team in and out of the huddle. You didn't see any issues with the play clock or calling the plays. A lot of this had to do with his reps in practice. Pryor said when he's the third quarterback he doesn't get a lot of reps and that showed in his first few games.
This week he got the majority of the reps with the team and he showed what he could do on the field. If he can learn to keep that flow even when he isn't getting the reps in practice it will help him grow as a player.
You never know when your name will be called on Sunday, so it's always important to be prepared as if you're going to play every game.
Snaps Under Center
Taking snaps under center is another thing that Pryor will need to improve on and this, again, will come with more reps in practice.
Pryor was mostly a shotgun quarterback in college and had very little experience taking snaps under center. He did fumble a snap earlier in the Lions game that should have been secured, but now is the time to make those mistakes.
If he can continue to work on taking those snaps he'll have a better opportunity to get more action in games and perhaps one day beat Matt Leinart for the No. 2 spot as the back up quarterback. It's easy to say that the Raider Nation felt very comfortable with Pryor as the QB against the Lions and it will continue to be that way if he can be more sure handed under center.
Knowing When to Slide and Go Down
I realize Pryor is 6'6" and weighs 233 pounds and he runs faster than most of the players in the NFL, but it's important for him to learn how to slide and not take so many hits. Despite the fact that in most cases against the Lions he delivered a lot of the hits on his runs, it's going to be crucial for him to avoid those hits.
Everyone loves to see an exciting play from the quarterback, but nobody likes to see their quarterback get hurt. It's always best to learn the proper way to slide to avoid suffering an injury like Jason Campbell suffered last year against the Browns when he dove head first on a scramble and broke his collarbone.
If Pryor is given the opportunity to start in this league, there won't be another player like him, especially in the back up role so losing a player of his abilities would be a blow to any team. Getting the first down and sliding when players are coming is important, but if he has free space to run like he did against the Lions feel free to score or get some free yards.