A Closer Look at the Raiders' Decision to Start Terrelle Pryor
It has been reported by Scott Bair of CSN California that Terrelle Pryor will start for the Oakland Raiders at Seattle in the preseason finale. Pryor last started for Oakland in the regular-season finale in 2012 at San Diego.
After the Raiders traded for Matt Flynn, drafted Tyler Wilson and signed undrafted free agent Matt McGloin, it seemed that Oakland's general manager Reggie McKenzie was looking for options besides Pryor to start for the Raiders on September 8 in Indianapolis.
Pryor has come a long way to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He went through a six-game suspension from a scandal at Ohio State after being drafted in the third round of the supplemental draft, and he has watched Oakland bring in new players to start over him.
Pryor has sat behind Jason Campbell, Carson Palmer and Matt Flynn (Kyle Boller and Matt Leinart were also above him at times on the depth chart), but his chance to start has come. Well, his second chance if you count Week 17 of last year.
Pryor was given a chance to nail down the starting job going into this past offseason, but apparently he didn't do enough for McKenzie and Dennis Allen.
On that note, let's take a closer look at reasons to celebrate and reasons to stay calm (if you're a Pryor supporter) after the decision was made to start Pryor at Seattle.
Reasons to Stay Calm
Yes, Pryor has been given the opportunity to start in the preseason finale at Seattle. The thing is, the preseason finale usually features the starting units for less than a quarter of action. Unless Dennis Allen plans to flip the script on the preseason finale, Pryor won't get much playing time with the first-team offense.
Also, some people are celebrating this news as if it is the first time Pryor has been named the starting quarterback. Pryor had a chance to nail down the starting job last year when he started the season finale, and despite a performance in which Pryor showed potential, the Raiders tried to bury him on the depth chart.
After trading away Carson Palmer, Oakland acquired Matt Flynn, and although it was a move to create competition, Flynn has been getting most of the practice reps and preseason playing time with the first-team offense.
Speaking of Flynn, the reason Pryor is starting ahead of him in Seattle is because arm soreness is keeping him out of the game. Allen could just be resting up Flynn, who has taken a beating behind a weak offensive line, to get him ready for September 8 against the Colts.
Pryor did play well against Chicago; OK, he played great, but he did the same last year in preseason against Detroit. Pryor had an amazing showcase of his skill set in Week 3 of the 2012 preseason, but he was still benched behind Palmer, and it is possible the same outcome will happen here a year later.
Speaking of Pryor's performance against the Bears, most of his amazing night came as he led Oakland's starters against Chicago's backups in the third quarter.
Enough of the downside, let's look at why Pryor fans should be ecstatic about this news.
Reasons to Celebrate
Pryor is finally being rewarded for an offseason of hard work after his stellar performance against the Bears. After a game in which he showcased his passing and running abilities, Pryor will get his chance to secure the starting job going into the regular season and pick up where he left off last year.
Even though the Raiders tried to bury Pryor under Matt Flynn, Flynn is poised for another year of being beaten out in training camp by a younger, more athletic quarterback.
Pryor has looked better than Flynn, and Pryor has much more potential than the 28-year old Flynn, who has two career starts in which he inflated his stats by playing in a juggernaut offense with the Green Bay Packers.
Since coming out of college via the supplemental draft and serving a six-game suspension, Pryor has been a very fascinating prospect because of his physical appearance and natural athleticism, making him a lethal combination of talents for defenses to have to plan against.
With the outbreak of the zone-read offense, this could be the perfect time for Pryor to take over as the starting quarterback and utilize his skill set in any way he needs to win.
Upon Further Review
After taking some time to think about this, it is safe to say the Pryor fanbase should be happy with this move but should wait until Dennis Allen declares Pryor will start at Indianapolis before they celebrate Pryor being named the starting quarterback.
After watching the Raiders play three weeks of preseason football, it looks like 2013 has the potential to be another long season for Raider Nation. At least that was how it looked with Matt Flynn as the starter.
Flynn had his chances as the starting quarterback, and it looked just plain bad. Granted, Flynn lost his best offensive lineman in Jared Veldheer, and Darren McFadden has not looked like the 2010-11 version of himself in his limited playing time.
Veldheer's injury could be the wild card when it comes down to Allen making his final decision on his Week 1 starting quarterback. With their left tackle out for at least eight weeks, the Raiders QB, whomever it may be, will have to run for his life, and Pryor can do just that to keep plays alive.
Personally, I say let Pryor have the job and see what he can do. If the Raiders are as bad as they have looked against New Orleans and Chicago in the preseason, they have nothing to lose by giving Pryor a chance to try to spark this team.
If Pryor falters, then back to the drawing board. If Pryor succeeds and breaks the curse of his new jersey number, then the Raiders possibly have themselves a franchise quarterback for the first time since Rich Gannon.