Jun 11, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn (15) takes the snap at minicamp at the Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders Pre-Training Camp Preview: Quarterback

By far this is the most talked about and studied position on the Oakland Raiders roster this year.  Statisticians have torn apart Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor.  Rumors have circulated that have placed Tyler Wilson as the starting quarterback for the season opener.  Mostly the rumor has caused controversy over the fact that Matt Flynn lost his job in Seattle to Russell Wilson, and the “what if’s” have been floating around about Flynn possibly losing it to another Wilson (Tyler Wilson).

Training Camp is looming on the horizon.  It is where the questions will be answered, but it is also where more controversy will be made.  Ultimately, it will come down to performance.  Whoever performs the best will more than likely start.  The Raiders have four quarterbacks on their roster as they prepare to head into camp.  Each of these four quarterbacks has the potential to start in the National Football League (NFL), even Matt McGloin.

For the past 8 years, the Raiders quarterback position has been absolutely terrible.  The Jamarcus Russell project is over, and the Carson Palmer experiment has moved on to Arizona.  It is finally time to start over and make somebody prove themselves worthy of being a Oakland Raiders quarterback.  Four individuals will be headed into training camp to compete for the starting job.  This is a breakdown of each individual quarterback and their abilities:

1.    Matt Flynn- The 6’ 2” 230 pound quarterback that hails from Louisiana State University (LSU) was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2008 NFL Draft.  He was the back-up quarterback to Aaron Rodgers for the start of his career, and he only had two NFL starts while with the Green Bay Packers.  He started his first game in 2010 against the New England Patriots.  He threw 24 completions in 37 attempts for 251 yards, 1 interception, and 3 touchdowns.  However, on January 1, 2012, against the Detroit Lions, he had a very memorable game.  Flynn had 31 completions in 44 attempts for 480 yards, 1 interception, and 6 touchdowns.  

Mostly due to his performance on January 1, 2012, Flynn signed a contract to play for the Seattle Seahawks.  Initially he was given the starting nod, but he was beat out in camp by rookie Russell Wilson.  In March of 2013, he was traded to the Oakland Raiders.  On May 29, 2013, Head Coach Dennis Allen was quoted saying that Flynn is the starting quarterback headed into training camp.  However, it has also been highly publicized that the starting quarterback position is going to be a competition that will be determined in training camp.

Flynn has a strong and accurate arm while throwing short passes.  He has a quick release, has a strong pocket presence, and he makes decisive throws.  He has a tendency to under-throw longer passes, and this is where his lack of arm strength comes into play.  However, if you review the film of the January 1, 2012, game against the Detroit Lions, he threw several longer throws that found their target.  Let’s face it; there are players in the NFL that have what is known as “game speed.”  Maybe Flynn has “game arm strength.”  In any event, his ability to win the starting position will be tested in camp.  Then he will be tested in the Pre-season.  There, Raider Nation will be able to see if he has what it takes to be a Oakland Raiders starting quarterback.

May 20, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) throws a pass at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2.    Terrelle Pryor- The 6’ 4” 233 pound quarterback that hails from Ohio State was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2011 Supplemental NFL Draft.  Pryor was thought to have been the quarterback of the future for the Oakland Raiders.  However, he has been sat behind quarterbacks Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, Carson Palmer, and Matt Leinart.  Pryor has started one game for the Oakland Raiders.  In that start against the San Diego Chargers in 2012, he threw for 2 touchdowns, rushed for another touchdown, threw one interception, and he completed 46% of his passes in a 3 point loss.

Unfortunately for Pryor, he has not gained the confidence of Head Coach Dennis Allen or General Manager Reggie McKenzie.  They have both been quoted as calling Pryor a talented player who still has a lot to learn.  In their words they stated, “He’s not quite there yet.”  It is unknown where Pryor currently ranks among the four quarterbacks that are on the Oakland Raiders roster.  Some analysts and sports enthusiasts have him ranked directly behind Flynn at #2, but others have him ranked in the #3 and #4 positions.

Again, he will be able to battle for the starting job at training camp, but nobody can deny that he is a very fast and mobile quarterback.  He can deliver the long bomb with accuracy, but his longer delivery can leave him open to batted balls and fumbles by defensive rushers.  His scrambling ability will get him out of those situations, but he has been known to take off running too early.  As such, his footwork in the pocket has been called into question.  It is up to him to prove to the coaches that he is ready to take the next step in his NFL career.

Jun 11, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Tyler Wilson (8) throws a pass at minicamp at the Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3.    Tyler Wilson- The 6’ 2” 220 pound quarterback that hails from Arkansas was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.  This highly talented quarterback has all the makings of a starting quarterback.  He was a phenomenal player in college.  Many media pundits and analysts believe Wilson was underrated heading into the 2013 NFL Draft.  This was due to the personnel and coaching changes that happened at Arkansas prior to the 2012 season. 

During the Oakland Raiders Rookie mini-camp, OTA’s, and Mandatory mini-camp, Wilson caught the eye of Head Coach Dennis Allen.  This was mostly due to the velocity with which Wilson delivers his balls.  He has a very quick release and very good footwork in the pocket.  He can scramble when necessary, but he will stay in the pocket and take a hit in order to deliver a throw.

The media has commented several times about the possibility of Tyler Wilson taking over the starting job from Matt Flynn.  With the new system being installed and no official starting quarterback, I guess anything is possible at this point and time.  It will all depend on Matt Flynn and the type of success he has or doesn’t have.

May 20, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterbacks Matt McGloin (14) and Tyler Wilson (8) throw a pass at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4.    Matt McGloin- The 6’ 1” 210 pound quarterback that hails from Penn State University was picked up by the Oakland Raiders as an Undrafted Rookie Free Agent in 2013.  McGloin had a great college year in 2012 statistically.  He earned several college honors and broke school records.

McGloin is certainly a wildcard to make the team, but he has already impressed Raiders coaches during their limited time together.  Head Coach Dennis Allen was impressed by McGloin’s throwing accuracy and his ability to make  smart decisions.  Hopefully, he will be able to make the most of his limited playing time.

No matter which direction the Raiders go, I am looking forward to what Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson can draw up.  I am sure there is a plan in place to accommodate whoever is chosen as the starter for the 2013 season.

Tags: Green Bay Packers Greg Olson Matt Flynn Matt McGloin NFL Draft Oakland Raiders Terrelle Pryor Tyler Wilson

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