Coming into camp the Oakland Raiders are about as short on position battles as NBC is on Olympic coverage. Just about everywhere you look there’s a job on the line and we’re only one official practice in. That’s why the early returns on Terrelle Pryor’s performance are so troubling.
Nobody expected Pryor to be any further along now than he was a year ago in terms of playing the game. Hopefully his understanding of the playbook is at a professional level. He might be entering his second season but Pryor is a rookie by any standards. He’s only had two official practices in camp counting his one appearance last season and offseason OTAs aren’t a true measure of anyone’s ability to play the position of quarterback in the NFL.
Give Pryor his props though. He took to the first offseason of his career with a hunger to improve and hopefully challenge Matt Leinart as the man behind the man. Unfortunately for Pryor it already looks like this could be another lost season.
It’s just one practice but Pryor’s performance in the camp opener was anything but eye opening according to those who saw him. A combination of hesitancy, inaccuracy and some poor decision making marred TP’s first taste of football action in 2012.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Pryor ended the day with a dismal decision. A simple screen pass went horribly wrong as rookie DT Christo Biludiki became a training camp all-star by intercepting Pryor, sniffing out his pass and going for a pick-six.
To be sure it’s unfair to call the backup QB battle over after one round. Pryor will have time to improve and Leinart will have his moments of madness as well. However it is painfully clear that the Pryor project is still very much a work in progress with no apparent deadline for completion at this point in time. At what point do the coaches approach Pryor with a different role in an entirely different position?
Al Davis drafted Pryor with the understanding that he was developing a QB of the future. Reggie McKenzie might not see things that way but he must know there’s a superior athlete in Silver and Black that could be wasting away wearing a ball cap and carrying a clipboard on Sundays. We’re very early in the process but these are issues that have long-term implications.