What to Watch for as Terrelle Pryor Aims to Unseat Carson Palmer

John Rozum@Rozum27Correspondent IDecember 21, 2012

Is Terrelle Pryor Oakland's future under center?
Is Terrelle Pryor Oakland's future under center?Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Terrelle Pryor displayed his potential for the Oakland Raiders during the 2012 preseason.

For as little as he impacted, we did catch a glimpse of what he brings to the table for Oakland. Not to mention, Carson Palmer will be 33 years old when the 2013 NFL season kicks off.

Given the Raiders' disappointing season, allowing Pryor to receive more snaps is a good idea. Combine the elements of going 4-10 to this point and the movement of dual-threat quarterbacks in pro football and Pryor's appeal will increase.

Obviously in no way has Pryor become established on the levels of Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton or Russell Wilson. Nevertheless, considering he's only 23 years old the potential to develop still remains.

As a result, let's break down Pryor's 2012 preseason game vs. the Detroit Lions.


Note: All screen-caps courtesy of NFL.com.


The Mobility Factor

This is undeniably Pryor's better aspect as a quarterback. Against the Lions he carried five times for 90 yards including this 59-yard run that set up a touchdown.

Right about the time Pryor takes the snap, Detroit sends a safety blitz that gets picked up. Here is the angle from the side and behind the Lions' defense.

Although the blitz does get accounted for, Detroit still out-mans Oakland at the line. So, one player will be unblocked. This is where Pryor's athleticism becomes an advantage.

What we see next is the edge player losing contain and the man coverage downfield not playing physical enough at the point of attack. The end result is Pryor getting to the outside with plenty of green in front.

The contain defender to the left doesn't have his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and Pryor is able to dart around the edge.

Seeing nothing but green grass and the Oakland Athletics' infield, Pryor steals second base in the process of getting the Raiders in scoring position. If defenses aren't careful, just like we've seen with RG3 among others, quarterbacks like this can cause headaches for any opponent.


Pryor's Passing Potential

He may have only attempted five passes in the preseason contest against Detroit, but Pryor completed three and two went for touchdowns. His second of the game came from 76 yards out in a launch to rookie receiver Juron Criner.

Here, you can see the Lions stack the box with eight defenders to stuff the run and isolate Pryor's mobility. Well, the play-action pass makes Detroit vulnerable downfield in man coverage.

After the play fake, the defensive end loses contain, but a safety rolls down to eye Pryor and cover anything in the flats. Notice Criner at the top, because he just gets enough inside leverage to get downfield.

As Pryor rolls out, he does a solid job of keeping his eyes downfield and the football at chest level. He may not possess flawless mechanics, but it's obvious Pryor knows how to be effective out of the pocket.

Upon making the pass, he has a fullback receiving option in the flat and there is some room to run. Detroit, however, has five players in position to make a play. Without question is this courtesy of Pryor's mobility and the Lions not respecting his strong arm. 

Well, the former Ohio State signal-caller spots one perfectly to Criner in tight coverage. Factor the marksmanship while making it on the run and this pass is Pryor's accuracy in a nutshell.

Despite not earning hardly any playing time in the regular season, Pryor's developed more under center than at first glance. His ability to make plays out of the pocket is something to build on, because the Raiders' offense possesses much potential.

He'll never be under an immense amount of pocket pressure, because his mobility and strong arm forces a defense to approach with caution. More importantly, the Raiders rushing attack with Darren McFadden—or whoever is healthy enough to sit in the backfield—only adds to the promise.

Oakland can present a strong and efficiently balanced offense. Without question does Pryor need to polish up his mechanics, although his dual-threat versatility will buy him time to improve.

The guy had a sound 2012 preseason, and as evidence of the Raiders' regular season, Pryor deserves a chance to at least compete for the starting role next season.


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