Before today I was begging for the Oakland Raiders to move Terrelle Pryor to any position except quarterback. Now, I’m seeing what Al Davis already knew. Now, I’ve officially reversed field and hope Reggie McKenzie stays the course with Pryor at QB.
It’s only a preseason game so Oakland’s 31-20 victory over Detroit means nothing in the grand scheme. Carson Palmer’s two picks (one of which falls in the lap of Eddie McGee) are still troubling. The Raiders continued struggles in the red zone and short yardage situations are just as concerning. But I’ll be damned if Terrelle Pryor didn’t amaze in a Cam Newton kind of way today.
Before seeing the Lions, Pryor had looked pathetic in preseason action. His happy feet in pocket equated insecurity. His floating passes were something only Tim Tebow would envy.
That was until Pryor took over today’s game and pushed the Raiders to their first preseason win since 2010.
After Palmer authored another underwhelming effort, Pryor entered the game in the third quarter with the Raiders trailing. Before you could say “where’s Matt Leinart?” Pryor busted loose for an eye-popping 59-yard run displaying the speed that caught Al’s eye. That would help to set the stage for another Pryor scramble, the second being an amazing 17-yard TD scamper where the second year QB eluded pressure thanks to his large frame and considerable athletic skill to beat every Lion to the corner of the end zone.
As if that weren’t enough, Pryor then displayed his unbelievable arm.
With Oakland leading 17-13 thanks to the legs of Pryor, he hit Juron Criner on an unreal 40-yard TD strike. To be sure Criner made a great adjustment on a ball that was slightly underthrown but all the credit still goes TP6. Pryor, under pressure, stepped up in the pocket and uncorked a bomb off his front foot that fell just shy of the end zone. However Las Vegas native Criner put his size to use and bullied the ball away from a Lions defender for the score.
But we’re still not done.
Again Pryor and Criner linked up for another score on yet another long bomb. This time it was Pryor leading Criner in the open field allowing the Arizona alum to run free for a 76-yard TD.
In all Pryor threw for 137 yards on just 3 completions two of which went to Criner for scores.
Yes, it’s only a preseason game. No, Pryor is not at all ready to takeover Palmer’s job. To be sure Pryor also threw a terrible pick that was waived off thanks to penalty. Still, this was exactly the spark Raider Nation and Oakland’s offense was looking for.
Palmer played yet another uninspired preseason game leading this blogger to think what we see is what we’ll get. Darren McFadden again failed as the Raiders’ short yardage specialist even though he did strike paydirt on a goal-line run. Greg Knapp’s play calling is still very suspect and Oakland’s defense is looking good but not great.
None the less this was the all important third preseason game and the Raiders did enough to win.
Jamie Cumbie played his way into a stay of execution with the first roster cuts coming Monday. The tall D-lineman got his hands on 3 passes at the line of scrimmage the last of which was intercepted by Christo Bilukidi. Making their preseason debut Taiwan Jones, Jack Crawford and Brandon Myers all had moments of brilliance and madness. The first team offense is still very suspect. The first team defense is improved yet very questionable.
So with one more preseason tune-up left the Raiders are anything but settled on their 53-man roster. But you’d expect that with 90 men currently in Silver and Black. Come Monday that number will get dropped to 75. No matter what happens in Seattle next week we’ve seen a glimpse of what could be with Pryor. Here’s hoping we see more of what Al Davis knew all along. More importantly, let’s pray to see in Palmer what Hue Jackson saw when he mortgaged to future for the former Trojan. Right about now, I’d rather see Pryor struggle to learn than watch Palmer grasp at whatever straws are left of his NFL career.