Terrelle Pryor got his chance to run with the first team in the Oakland Raiders preseason finale with Matt Flynn out with tendinitis and despite some glimpses of solid play, an interception wrote of Pryor’s night as a failure. A skewed 9.9 passer rating giving something for the media and talking heads to run away with and opening the door for a return to Matt Flynn as the Raiders consensus Week One starter.
And I am here to say that would be extremely shortsighted for Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie.
Pryor may have thrown a short ball to a wide open Jacoby Ford that led to an interception, but it was one bad play to sour what was otherwise a performance in which Pryor more than passed the eye test. All without the luxury of having Darren McFadden, who was rested just to avoid the chance of losing him one week before Week One.
Pryor made things happen with his legs on multiple occasions on Thursday despite the Seahawks having plenty of time to prepare for Pryor being the Raiders first string quarterback. He busted out a couple of long scrambles for first downs and mixed in a few connections with Rod Streater after rolling out to buy some extra time.
Yes Pryor finished 3 for 8 for 31 yards and one interception, but those numbers were skewed by some drops from Denarius Moore on plays designed for the wide receiver to make a play after Pryor perfectly placed the ball. The mobile quarterback also still ran the ball for 48 yards, earning two first downs on the ground that Matt Flynn simply wouldn’t make.
In the end it Pryor didn’t lock down the job, but according to Scot Bair of CSNBayArea.com, he did enough to earn the compliments of Dennis Allen postgame and the hint that he could be the current favorite for the Raiders Week One gig.
DA was pretty complimentary if Pryor. Says he knows who starting QB is. Isn’t telling. Reading between the lines, I think it’s Pryor
— Scott Bair (@BairCSN) August 30, 2013
On the other hand Matt Flynn sat out the Seahawks game with tendinitis, avoiding a final preseason appearance against his former team and a chance at more tape to judge him after a meh preseason. Flynn has said that his arm is fine, so him missing Week One due to injury is out of the question. It was leading up to this point all preseason and it is no 100% clear that Allen needs to pick between Flynn and Pryor.
If Flynn does get the start it will be under immense pressure and with an extremely short leash as Raider Nation has not welcomed Flynn with open arms with the more exciting Pryor waiting in the wings. At this point it is clear that the direction the fans want to see is in Pryor’s favor and they have already took to booing Flynn in the preseason, so the question remains if there is even a point to go ahead with the Matt Flynn Experiment any longer.
All things considered it is very likely that Terrelle Pryor is going to eventually get his shot at being the Oakland Raiders starter this season. Dennis Allen may delay the inevitable for awhile longer, but with Flynn struggling with no time behind a poor offensive line and less talented receivers than in Green Bay, there seems to be little logic in preventing Pryor from getting his feet wet from the get go just to play a quarterback who has been forced into the Raiders plans since Day One of the offseason. Start Pryor and let him take control in what is considered as a rebuilding season, at least the upside of things going well is much higher than Flynn managing to survive with a offense nowhere geared towards his individual talents.
- The Raiders defensive line looked much more explosive on Thursday than in the first three weeks of the preseason. A return of the majority of their projected starters clearly gave them a boost as the defensive line was much better against the run, stopping a majority of the Seahawks run plays at the line or behind the line of scrimmage. They were the highlight of what was an otherwise expected bland performance from the Raiders in a nothing game.
- Menelik Watson was a huge improvement over Alex Barron, but it was clear that the newbie will need some work to be reliable. Luckily it looks like he will get that chance as Barron was once again terrible and looked to give up on blocking once getting beat. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t hit the 53 man roster.
- Rod Streater continued to perform like the Raiders number one wideout while Denarius Moore continued to struggle. Streater caught two first down receptions from Terrelle Pryor that were the highlight of the first team offense’s night while Moore dropped two passes that were well placed from Pryor that could have greatly changed the outlook of Oakland’s offensive performance. Here is hoping Moore was just holding back a little to avoid injury.
- Rashad Jennings busted open for some impressive runs in the second quarter, putting together a nine run draw followed by a 15 plus yard breakout run on two straight plays replacing Darren McFadden as the first string running back. With Latavius Murray out, expect Jennings to get an even bigger workload than expected. For now it looks like he can easily take on the relief running back duties all on his own.
- Tyler Wilson played well in his preseason finale giving Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie a tough choice at third string quarterback. McGloin is an undrafted rookie who has put together plenty of good tape in the preseason while Wilson is a fourth round draft pick making both likely waiver wire targets if cut. Oakland naturally won’t want a fourth quarterback so it will be interesting to see if either two get the snip when Dennis Allen cuts down to 53 players.