Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor keeps shocking the football world. His first surprise came over the course of the preseason when he beat out veteran Matt Flynn for the starting role. He then surpassed all expectations by playing at a very high level through the first five weeks of the regular season.
Now, he has shown a great deal of maturity and reached out to famed pitching coach Tom House to continue improving as a quarterback.
If you aren't familiar with House, he spent eight years with the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners as a relief pitcher, and now spends his days mentoring the top quarterbacks in the game. House has worked with the likes of Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco and even Tim Tebow.
In fact, Tebow's regression after seeing House was one of Pryor's biggest reasons for contacting the esteemed quarterback guru. According to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez, Pryor doesn't want to fall into a Tebow-like relapse. Said Pryor:
Tebow looked great, he was throwing the ball great, wasn't missing anything. Then they said he went to [training] camp, and when he went back, he reverted back to himself because [that's] when the bullets are flying at you.
Pryor does not want that to happen to him.
In fact, Pryor's improvement as a passer can be easily seen by simply taking a look at his first four performances in 2013:
There is a noticeable increase in his effectiveness as a passer from game to game. Pryor was once viewed as an athlete who can also play quarterback—it appears as though he is doing everything possible to shed that image.
All that Pryor currently lacks is a little polish as a passer. Despite his impressive numbers, it's difficult to trust him at times. Pryor's footwork and technique has been sloppy over his career. He also has a tendency to throw back across his body when he scrambles out of the pocket.
This is the reason he is seeking the tutelage of House—Pryor wants to dispel these bad habits.
Pryor will not stop running, however. In fact, behind the Oakland offensive line, he cannot afford to stop running. That's alright with head coach Dennis Allen, who loves the athletic aspects of his quarterback:
His ability to escape, if the protection does break down, has been key for our offense. Because at times, I don't care who you are, at times the protection's going to break down. And when it does, he's got the ability to make something and create something, and for the most part, it's been positive for us when he's been able to do that.
Working with House gives Pryor recognition as an effective dual-threat quarterback. He is attempting to be the kind of quarterback that gives a defensive coordinator nightmares—the kind of quarterback that the Raiders desperately need.
If House can keep Pryor on his current path, the sky could be the limit for the 24-year-old quarterback.
The Raiders currently hold a 2-3 overall record, but are 2-2 with Pryor under center in 2013. With six of Oakland's final 11 opponents heading into Week 6 with losing records, Pryor's continued growth could keep the Raiders in the playoff discussion come January.