Analyzing Terrelle Pryor Going Into Week One
On Wednesday evening, Mike Silver of NFL Network reported that “there’s a lot of skepticism” in regards to Terrelle Pryor opening the season as the Oakland Raiders’ starter, and that some people in the Raiders’ organization believe undrafted rookie QB Matt McGloin gives the Raiders a better chance to win. And despite Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle gaining insight that Pryor will start in the season opener, head coach Dennis Allen has yet to officially name Pryor the starter, even though he undoubtedly won the starting job this preseason, which isn’t saying a whole lot.
As Terrelle Pryor is projected by the masses to start against Indianapolis on Sunday, it will mark his second career start, tying him with the guy he competed, Matt Flynn. Although it might not mean much, in the preseason exhibition between Indianapolis and the Buffalo Bills, the Colts’ defense was vulnerable the entire game, failing to show they had an answer for EJ Manuel’s versatility and CJ Spiller’s burst. That being said, as Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator Greg Olson has implemented several read-option packages that will likely consist of Pryor, Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece in the backfield at the same time, the higher chances that the Colts defense will be ill-assorted increases with Pryor as the starter.
The third preseason game of the 2013 NFL season is where Pryor showed what to expect from him. He had multiple positive gains rushing and delivered multiple passes to his tight ends. As David Ausberry is doubtful to play Sunday, Jeron Mastrud will get the start, while Mychael Rivera can expect to see significant amount of time in passing situations. The Colts have two pro bowl safeties in LaRon Landry and Antoine Bethea, so it will not be as easy for Pryor to thread the needle to his tight ends with either guy defending. However, Bethea had a negative preseason grade against both in coverage and against the run, per Pro Football Focus, and Pryor will need to take advantage. We can expect Pryor to use his tight ends as a safety net in first down and red zone situations.
The Colts have three decent cornerbacks in Vontae Davis, Cassius Vaughn and Greg Toler who won’t make it easy for Pryor to get the ball to Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and/or Brice Butler and Jacoby Ford. The dimension he brings, however, that the other QBs in Oakland do not, is his mobility. If Pryor can continue to successfully keep plays alive against the Colts, the Raiders have a chance to pull off an upset, as Vegas has the spread set for Oakland losing by at least 10 points.This preseason Pryor did a great job of gaining yards with his legs, and this threat alone will ensure that the Colts defense have their hands full throughout the entire game. If Pryor can get the defense on edge, then his arm will then have the opportunity to do some damage, and that’s where he can prove himself as an NFL starter.
Based on the remarks provided, Terrelle Pryor has a huge opportunity to attest that he is in fact the best option for the Raiders this season. Considering Pryor is Al Davis’ final draft pick, Mark Davis, Al’s son and current owner, sure would like to see what the third-year quarterback can do for the organization; that being said, if Reggie McKenzie dares to start McGloin over Pryor, which is a blatant slap in the face, he could be seeing his way out of Oakland. But with little to gain this year, investing in Pryor to start was long overdue since last year, as the Raiders could have gave him a good look and enough time to observe the prospect when they were 3-8 at a point last season.
It’s really difficult to say what we can expect from Pryor. Some expect that he’ll emerge as the full package dual threat that we’ve seen flashes of and others are expecting to see the quarterback that should have switched positions. The keys to the vehicle are in Terrelle Pryor’s hands, and it remains to be said which direction the vehicle will head this season. Sunday should give us a good observation of whether Pryor is responsible enough to keep those keys in his possession.
WEEK ONE PREDICTION: 19-31, 230 passing yards, 2 TD, INT | 6 carries for 47 yards