He struggled in Week 6, but the play of Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been a bright spot for the Raiders in 2013.
However, AFC West Lead Writer Christopher Hansen cautions that Pryor isn't going to survive the season if Oakland doesn't improve up front:
One of the main arguments against running quarterbacks in the NFL is durability. Many believe that running quarterbacks take more hits and that it will eventually lead to injuries. Since starting quarterbacks are so valuable and very few teams have quality backups, it’s a legitimate concern.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor might not get hurt because he’s running; he might get hurt because he has to run. Realistically, Pryor isn’t going to hold up behind Oakland’s offensive line if it can’t either get healthy or drastically improve.
The Kansas City Chiefs sacked Pryor 10 times on Sunday and hit him about a dozen other times. Pryor avoided another 10 sacks with his legs, and it would have been even worse with a pocket passer at quarterback.
The Chiefs were the top-ranked defense in football, but it was a one-score game until there were two minutes left in the fourth quarter. This wasn’t a situation where Kansas City’s pass-rushers just pinned their ears back and exposed a thin offensive line.
Oakland’s best healthy lineman was probably left tackle Khalif Barnes, but he looked the worst in pass protection and allowed 3.5 sacks to Tamba Hali. The Raiders finished the game with Lucas Nix at left guard, right guard Mike Brisiel at center, Lamar Mady at right guard and Matt McCants at right tackle—neither a talented nor experienced group.
The offensive line has been shuffled so much due to injury that it’s tough to really know who the starters would be if everyone were healthy. Realistically, all five starters on Sunday were either hurt or playing out of position, including both their starting tackles and their center.
Left tackle Jared Veldheer, center Stefen Wisniewski and rookie second-round pick Menelik Watson are still out with injuries. Andre Gurode moved from left guard to center and was injured during the game. Oakland picked up Tony Pashos on waivers just before the season began to start at right tackle, with Barnes moving from right tackle to left tackle with Veldheer and Watson out.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the Raiders fielded the worst offensive line in the NFL on Sunday against the best defense and predictably got burned. If Pryor doesn’t start getting more protection, there’s very little chance he’s going to finish the season healthy.
“I didn’t take a beating,” Pryor said after the game, via Jerry McDonald of Inside Bay Area. “I’m a big man, I’m a grown man. They just tackled me.”
On Sunday, Pryor hurt his hand and was able to play through it, but he’s already missed a game with a concussion. Despite what he may think, he’s not going to last if he keeps getting tackled as much as he did on Sunday.