Questions have been surrounding the Oakland Raiders training camp regarding who the quarterback will be week 1 of the regular season. I’m here to testify that, in my opinion, the quarterback of the 2013 season should be Matt Flynn. The starter for the first pre-season game will be Matt Flynn. That is when most of Raider Nation will get a glimpse of why I think he should be the week 1 starter. Those who have been lucky enough to see the quarterback competition in person at the Napa, CA, training center, could probably agree that Flynn has shown the field command and leadership necessary to be the number one quarterback. However, let’s break down each of the four potential candidates, and you can form your own opinion:
1. Matt Flynn: There is no doubt, Flynn has more to prove to the football world than his three other competitors. In 2011, Flynn displayed a stellar performance against the Detroit Lions which spurred his exodus to the Seattle Seahawks. It was thought that he would be the starter and savior for the Seahawks, but, as we all know, Russell Wilson unseated Flynn and the rest is history. Now, the Raiders have given Flynn a chance to redeem himself. After the signing of Flynn, I immediately found the film of his game performances online. The films are few and far between, but when I broke down his performances, I noticed one thing. Flynn is a good quarterback in the right system.
He has very good foot work and pocket presence. His passes are accurate and have velocity behind them. He has enough speed to elude rushers if the pocket breaks down. Although Ron Jaworski (ESPN Analyst/Retired QB) stated that Flynn doesn’t have very accurate long passes due to arm strength, I witnessed his long balls first hand and they were very accurate with a lot of touch. Not only this, but Flynn throws a beautiful back-shoulder pass that is being heavily practiced at Raiders camp. As a leader, Flynn has very good field command, and he runs the offense very well during the 2 minute drills. The first pre-season game will be a good barometer as to his development and performance in a game situation.
2. Terrelle Pryor: Raider Nation really wants to see this guy succeed. He is an awesome athlete who is fast and elusive. Unfortunately, he still has a lot of work to do in order to show the Raiders coaching staff that he is the next QB of the Raiders. There were some obvious signs that I saw on Tuesday, July 30th, that confirmed why he is still struggling. His footwork is in need of a lot of work. He has happy feet in the pocket. His drop-backs were too short, and he waited too long to get the ball out of his hands. He showed a run first mentality. There was no denying his quickness outside of the pocket or his throws on the run, but he struggled with his accuracy and ball velocity. A lot of his throws ballooned and took a long time to get to the receiver. He is going to have to work on his mechanics in order to take over the number one spot. The biggest positive I saw from Pryor was his red zone offense. He ran a QB sneak that faked the entire defense out. In this facet, he could be dynamic for our team during red zone opportunities.
3. Tyler Wilson: The Arkansas Razorback alumni is exciting to watch in practice. He has solid mechanics and good footwork. His passes are thrown with velocity that makes a very distinct sound as it travels through the air. When his passes hit their mark, a loud pop can be heard from across the practice field. Accuracy was not an issue for Wilson. It is plain to see that he was definitely underrated in the 2013 NFL Draft. Based on what I saw in person, I don’t have many negative things to say about him. The biggest negative I have heard about is his decision-making when the pocket breaks down in a game. He has great arm strength and a lot of accuracy. I can see this kid being the QB of the future for the Raiders. Only time will tell.
4. Matt McGloin: Coming out of Penn State, I expected him to have decent NFL QB mechanics, but I was very surprised just how good his mechanics were. He had the best footwork of all the QB’s in camp. His passes hit their mark with a lot of velocity and accuracy. However, he had a tendency to throw low balls on the run. McGloin is definitely showing that he wants to make this team. He is developing very well and would be worth keeping as a number three. That being said, he didn’t get as many opportunities as the rest of his competitors, and he will have to make a play for a roster position during pre-season.
In a perfect world, the Raiders could keep all four quarterbacks and allow them to compete all season long. Unfortunately, the Raiders will have to part ways with one of them. Pryor is three years into his 5 year contract, but he could be used as a trade for a future draft pick if he cannot show further growth. Flynn is still the apparent number one right now. Barring any injury or poor pre-season display, I still believe he will be the starter for the 2013 season. The one QB I see that has a chance to take Flynn’s spot is Wilson. If this happens, it will be later in the season, and it will only happen if Flynn performs poorly. McGloin is intriguing in that he could unseat Pryor for the third roster position. This is not to say that Pryor is already the third string QB, but if McGloin were to take Pryor’s spot, he would be placed behind Wilson on the depth chart. The competition will continue, and only their game time performances will be remembered. August 9th is almost here, and I anticipate that Raider Nation will be very happy with how the QB’s are developing.