This is a new era for the NFL. No longer are rookie quarterbacks expected to sit and learn on the job. These days young QBs are expected to step in ready to roll and lead their team to the Promised Land.
Yesterday Terrelle Pryor tossed his hat into the NFL’s young quarterback club with a mixed but none the less impressive showing during his first career start.
While nobody is going to start the RGIII comparisons anytime soon there is certainly reason to believe Pryor has a future in the this league and certainly in the coming year with the Oakland Raiders. He might be RGIII but there is reason to believe the Raiders have a mix of both Griffin III and Carolina’s Cam Newton in Pryor.
First things first, it is hard to ignore some of the bad Pryor did yesterday. His mechanics aren’t awful but he definitely needs to work on polishing his footwork. Though his physical abilities are off the chart, Pryor must realize he’s playing in a league where athletes are all over the field.
One of Pryor’s most noteworthy mistakes was a red zone interception made by veteran corner Quentin Jammer. Pryor simply made a bad decision by putting far too much air under a ball that Jammer had his sights set on the whole way. Now mind you it still took an amazing athletic feat for Jammer to get to the ball a secure it, none the less red zone turnovers have killed many a young QB’s career.
With that said Pryor did look much better in the pocket than what we saw during the preseason. Though he still has a tendency to bail out of plays a little too early, instead opting to put his blazing speed to use, there were plenty of instances in which Pryor kept plays alive with his feet resulting in big gains.
That’s where the good of what Pryor did comes into the conversation.
Pryor’s showed real poise in the clutch leading Oakland into the end zone twice once on a 76-yard drive and the other after a blocked punt put the game back into the Raiders’ reach. Pryor’s ability to keep plays alive while keeping his eyes down field directly led to his TD toss to Denarius Moore that made it a three-point game late in the fourth.
But beyond individual instances that highlighted the good and the bad of Pryor’s outing there is one fact that cannot be ignored.
Prior to Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Chargers the Oakland offense had failed to find the end zone in consecutive games. The mere presence of Pryor and all he brings to the table actually breathed life into a listless unit. Pryor had a hand in all threes of Oakland’s touchdowns including two passing and one running.
That is something that cannot be overstated. If the offense came to life after only a couple of days with Pryor practicing with the first team then just think of the possibilities if he were actually given more opportunities.
Above all else what made his debut so memorable was all along we were told by the coaches that he wasn’t ready. Personally I expected a very vanilla scheme that wouldn’t allow Pryor the opportunity to take the game in his hands. The exact opposite happened as Pryor was put to the test in most every way possible.
Aside from managing the game Pryor also flashed some leadership qualities by pulling Mike Goodson away from Takeo Spikes just before the two were ejected. While TP6 couldn’t stop the ejection he did prove himself assertive as any NFL quarterback should be.
Now nobody is saying Pryor is the answer to all of Oakland’s woes. However if the coaching staff can devise an appropriate scheme and Pryor is given a chance to compete in camp with Carson Palmer next season then there’s no reason to think the possibilities aren’t limitless.