December 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) passes the football against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Is Terrelle Pryor Really That Good?


First and foremost, let’s forego the discussion that the Oakland Raiders, or more specifically Head Coach Dennis Allen, set quarterback Terrelle Pryor up for failure.  Why forego it you ask, because he was the starting quarterback at the beginning of the 2013 NFL season for the Raiders.  He beat out Matt Flynn, Matt McGloin, and Tyler Wilson (Two of these were backups at best, and one was on the practice squad).  So, he was the best option on the Raiders roster at the start of 2013.  He was given his shot, and Pryor didn’t produce.

I’m not saying that Pryor isn’t a dynamic player, but he didn’t do enough to show the coaching staff that he warranted another shot at the starting position.  Here are the numbers; Pryor played in 11 games in 2013 and he threw for 1,798 yards, 7 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and he had a completion percentage of 54.7%.  Yes, he rushed for 576 yards and 2 touchdowns, but that’s still only a total of 2,374 yards.  Is this a viable option at quarterback?  Are we, Raiders fans, allowing ourselves to be blinded by Pryor’s dynamic playability?

Dec 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) controls the ball against the Denver Broncos during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Denver Broncos defeated the Oakland Raiders 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) controls the ball against the Denver Broncos during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Denver Broncos defeated the Oakland Raiders 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Some people say that numbers don’t lie.  If that’s the case, Matt McGloin had better numbers.  McGloin played in 7 games and he threw for 1,547 yards, 8 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and a completion percentage of 55.9%.  Still, McGloin isn’t the answer either.

I’ve watched a lot of tape on Pryor lately, and there were two consistent problems that I saw.  Pryor’s footwork needs a lot of work, and he has a difficult time going through his progressions.  Most of the time he was completely focused on one receiver or one route.  Is that the kind of quarterback Raider Nation wants?  I don’t.  I want a quarterback that goes through his reads and then makes a quick decision.  I want a quarterback that gets the ball out of his hands once a decision is made.  I want a quarterback that gives his receivers a chance to make a play.  That quarterback is not Pryor.

Some would ask the Raiders to give him more time to develop.  True, this is always an option.  I wish Pryor would remain with the Raiders and develop behind Matt Schaub this year.  Then, beat him out next year and take it over.  However, Pryor wants to be the starting quarterback now.  He doesn’t want to wait.  Unfortunately for him, I don’t know that there is a team out there right now that will start him as is.

His best shot would be to join the Carolina Panthers and backup Cam Newton.  With Newton having ankle surgery this off-season, there may be a very good opportunity for Pryor to get some more playing time.  Another option for Pryor would be to join the Washington Redskins and play behind Robert Griffin III.  RGIII has had the lingering knee issue, and he is one hit away from being out for the season again.  Either way, both offenses are set up for Pryor’s unique talents.  It’s just not going to happen in Oakland.

With the entire roster seemingly being turned over this year, it only seems fair to cut ties with Terrelle Pryor and allow him to seek employment elsewhere.  I wish Pryor the best, and I hope that he doesn’t suffer the same fate as Tim Tebow.

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Tags: Cam Newton Matt McGloin Oakland Raiders Robert Griffin III Terrelle Pryor Tim Tebow

  • wilbcore

    The most important numbers you forgot to mention. Pryor was sacked 31 times. McGloin was sacked 6 times. A running QB without the vision to find receivers or get rid of the ball and taking a loss by running out of bounds is not ready to lead an NFL team. I loved watch Pryor at first because he was a wildcard. After teams figured him out he was hard to watch.

  • mmp60

    I don’t think it matters how long Pryor sits and learns, he doesn’t seem to get NFL defenses. He should have “got it” by now.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    This is very true, and I don’t know that he would ever be ready either.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    One could only hope.

  • Mark Shafer

    I believe that Pryor is not going to have a better chance to become a starter than in Oakland. His second best option is probable in Washington, as you stated Shane.
    I hate to see a guy with that much potential leave, but he isn’t ready to start. He put some hope into the season last year, and a smile on my face at times. Without Pryor last season would have had nothing to smile about!

  • David Phelan

    Good job Shane, you hit it on the mark. I can understand that Pryor has fans who will disagree with your assessment, but the truth is Pryor is just not the best option at QB for the Raiders. I still think that he would benefit by going to Canada to work on his game. Great QBs like Warren Moon and Joe Theisman went to Canada and had success when the eventually came back. Another example would be a guy like Kurt Warner who worked on his game in the Arena League, and then took the Rams to the Superbowl and earned an MVP on the way. I am one that believes the NFL needs a developmental league for players like Pryor and Tebow, where they could get in game experience rather than practice time.

  • bigninaross

    Agreed. I wish he’d stay and develop with The Raiders for another year or two and then become our starter, but if he is growing impatient, then there isn’t much the team can do. I really like him and wish him all the best…except for if and when he ever plays against us ;-P

  • KloverJane

    I’m going state the obvious. Maybe if Veldeer wasn’t injured and we had an offensive line that could block for 5 seconds, Terrelle might have succeeded.
    Also, its worth noting that wide receivers need to get open ten yards from the line of scrimmage. Not ten yards from the QB in the shotgun formation.
    I’m tired of seeing our signal callers run for their lives. Except Terrelles 93 yard TD run against the Squealers. Epic autumn wind!

  • James

    The answer to the question is, “not very”. I love bringing in Schaub! But let’s get this straight, it is way too early to say McGloin cannot be an NFL QB. Since when do you have to be the top QB in the league to have a future? Did anybody see Drew Brees his first few years with a MUCH more talented roster? Or Manning? Pryor is a winner, an athelete, and a hard worker. Not to mention, when he is a starter, he is great to have in the locker room. But when he wasn’t the starter, the stories came out that he was lazy, late to meetings, and overall basically pouted about not being the starter. He did not take the time to learn how to throw the first 2.5 years with the team. Under Pryor, the offense only produced 17.5 pts per game. Under McGloin, 21.5. The production was higher under McGloin, an undrafted rookie than it was with a 3 year player. People who defend Pryor and point at the offensive line also have to look at the reasons it was failing. Under TP, the ball just simply didn’t come out. No timing routes, no 3 step drops and slant routes. Just hold on to the ball until you see a guy wide open, see a running lane, or take a sack. I love what TP brings to the table, but I would be happy if we moved on. Schaub as QB1 with McGloin being groomed would make me happier than drafting some first round QB. I want a guy who has had to fight since day 1 than one who feels he is owed a starting job. McGloin throwing a few picks does not bother me as a rookie or second year guy. His stats were favorable in every other category with a very untalented supporting cast. Schaub will have some weapons to work with an improved offensive line, and veteran experience. It will make a huge difference this year.

  • Rada4Life

    All those things you listed are fixable and he does the work to improve.He’s been 1st one in last one out of the training facility always.With that kind of work ethic how can you pass on him?He’s not far off to being a very dangerous QB!I think he needs to stay the course and simply beat out the others to prove he’s the man.With last years line and a poor performance from Dmac (which he also had a patch work line) it’s not fair to give up on him just yet.If he can fix his progressions and his footwork,he can be a very good QB!

  • Mark Shafer

    I agree, I think the lack of protection provided hurt Pryor’s development over time. I also have questions about the coaches. Pryor always runs right and the competition knows that. The coaches should have already seen that and working on coaching him out of that habit. I am sure he can run left just as fast.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    Ok Shane, first of all he was not starting QB until the season started they had Flynn in with starter from beginning of camp. So how did Pryor get his timing or trust in receivers he was not working with. O-line sucked. He had no run game for DMC went down again. Jared was out. So Progression it did not matter who was QB none went though their progressions. The coaches knew it that is why that focus on building up the o-line. Matt was a sitting duck back their both of them. He Pryor will be good. If he get a chance to grow. This young man been in the league 3 yrs. and he been in 3 different offenses. Never looked at being the QB of the Raiders since AL died. I am a Raider die hard. but I want Pryor to go out and get under a real Offensive coach either Mark Tresmen or go to Carolina and back up Cam Newton. Or across the bay.

  • Dennis Carroll

    I’m gonna say this , If he would have finished His Career at Ohio state with the same Numbers He put up before he was suspended , and opt to go to the NFL , Pryor without question would have been a 1st round draft grade QB. I think Raiders are making a Huge mistake , but also don’t think this staff is fit to handle and develop a young QB, Pryor went to Ohio state instead of Oregon to learn a pro style offense yet Raiders , put him read option offense , something he never ran before. also the kid has had 3 offensive cord’s since hes been in the League . Jackson, Knapp, Olsen, so How are you supposed to get comfortable in a Playbook. I laugh when Dennis Allen states that Matt Schuab is on the same level as Manning and Rivers. who is he trying to Kid. I’m just glad that this is going to Frankenberry and Allen’s last season with us.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Schaub is definitely on the same level as Rivers, not Manning. Rivers is an overrated QB with good weapons.

  • Hangtownie

    Face fact folks – Matt McWho undrafted free agent out played TP with the same guys around him and way less experience. TP just dosen’t have it yet or maybe ever

  • http://oreillyauto.com bigROC209

    If he goes to Washington he’d be 3rd on the depth chart behind RGIII and Cousins.

    It’s too bad the Raiders didn’t start developing this kid earlier in his career. They wasted two seasons with Carson Palmer when those two years could have been used to fine tune Pryoy’s ability as a QB.

    I truly believe that if Pryor would have got live, in-game, reps he would have been sooooo much further along in his development as a NFL QB. Last season was basically his rookie year.

  • http://oreillyauto.com bigROC209

    Who knows? Maybe if Veldheer doesn’t go down, Janikowski makes some FGs, and Rashad Jennings was producing like he was with McGloin in there, Terrelle Pryor might still be “the guy” in Oakland….

  • Bob

    Yes! I can’t figure out ESPNs fascination with Rivers.

  • Nate

    Would Pryor make a better wide receiver?

  • Chris Schroeder

    I bid fair well to Pryor too, and I hope he finds what he’s looking for. Now that that’s over. WOO HOO we finally got a relevant QB. Now let go compete for a change. No knock on Pryor, but when the guy has to scramble and run around like a chicken with his head cut off for upwards of 10 seconds I start to get dizzy watching him. I can only imagine how the offensive line and receiving corps must have felt.

  • friendship220

    Who did Pryor lose to?
    Who did McGloin lose to?

    What were the Raiders rushing yards when Pryor was QB?
    What were the Raiders rushing yards when McGloin was QB?

  • friendship220

    McGloin went 1-5. That’s crap.

  • friendship220

    If you want to get Pryor, you’re gonna want to run. If you sit him on your bench, teams have to prepare for him. If it’s Washington, Pryor would be a backup to RGIII as they play about the same running style. Pryor’s the better runner.

  • friendship220

    You like losing, right?

  • friendship220

    With the Raiders, he could beat out Schaub, or there could be a Plan A / Plan B offense. Pryor is the best runner – biggest/fastest ever. Build an offense that runs first, around Pryor. If the Raiders are losing in a game, put the Pryor running offense in.

  • friendship220

    Or just have a different, running offense. It’s as if no one has ever seen college football. Standing in the pocket is only one way to play football.

  • Mark Shafer

    All that talk last year about the changed Phillip Rivers! A leopard doesn’t loose his spots. If you hit him he will throw you the ball. My favorite was Sio Moore’s interception.

  • friendship220

    Major League Baseball has their act together. the NFL doesn’t. Why isn’t there minor leagues? There really should be. And instead of training QBs to be just like every other QB, you try innovations in the minor leagues with those QBs who can run.

    The Raiders running offense will suffer if the QB is Schaub or McGloin. Neither guy can run.

  • friendship220

    Pryor got wins. Who’d he lose to? Playoff teams. Schaub better beat playoff teams, or he’s no better than Pryor.

  • friendship220

    He’s still bigger, faster and a better runner than anybody ever. He doesn’t need to “get it”. All the guys who can’t run have to be a whole lot better than Pryor at passing.

  • friendship220

    Here are more important numbers:

    1) McGloin was 1-5
    2) The Raider rushing offense was 3 in the NFL with Pryor.
    3) The Raider rushing offense was 21 in the NFL with McGloin.
    4) Pryor ran for 27 first downs.
    5) McGloin ran for 2 first downs.

    Which would you prefer?

    1) Throw the ball away on 3rd down to avoid the sack
    2) Run around in the backfield and then take a sack
    3) Run around in the backfield and then run for a first down.

    1 and 2 are the only things that McGloin can do. He does 1 more than 2.
    3 is the only good one, and only Pryor can do that, and he did that a lot.

  • mmp60

    Nobody is doubting his athletic skills, they’re insane. To be a successful QB in today’s NFL, you need to pass the the ball with proficiency, read defenses very well and make quick decisions, this is where he doesn’t excel and all his athleticism can’t make up for this fact.

  • Brian Huth

    I think Pryor would be a good option for the Browns. They have one QB who is coming off a torn ACL (Hoyer) and would have a lot of fan support. Then they could use their two 1st round pick for the best player available and draft a QB in the 2nd round. I’ve said it before, if TP improves as much this offseason as last offseason look out!

  • boknowsyo

    You forgot to mention most of mcgloin interceptions came at the end of the games when the defense couldn’t hold and the rookie with limited reps was forced into obvious passing situations. Also, people should realize that our defense won the games you think pryor won, remember when we were listed as a top 5, reason our defense had 300 more snaps than any other team was due to Pryors inability to move the chains. Once defenses made him roll left, he was done. The reality is pryor isn’t smart enough to be an nfl qb, can’t make quick enough decisions. There were times when that horrible o line allowed around 5 seconds for pryor, still couldn’t make a completion. McGloin had one of the quickest releases in the nfl. I wouldn’t be surprised if mcgloin beats out shaub, he’s done it his whole life, and has almost everything you’d look for in a qb, quick decisions, good arm strength, accurate, and a quick release, his only knock is his height.

  • boknowsyo

    And pryor had a top 5 defense, and we had a top 3 rushing attack cause he COULDN’T THROW THE BALL. You forgot to mention mcgloin led the league in plays of 20+ yds during his 7 games. And he had an overplayed defense, thus the 1-5.

  • boknowsyo

    Have to be able to read a defense, find an open reciever, and throw a ball that someone can catch to be a pro qb.

  • Brutus

    I think a good barometer of Pryor’s potential as a starting NFL QB after three years is the quality of trade offers we are receiving from other teams for his services.

  • James

    Yes, I got tired of writing. The argument seems to be that Pryor can run. So I guess, QB A scores more points per game, turns the ball over less, and takes less sacks, but QB B gets more rushing yards. As a QB, I would think you would want QB A. I guess I am wrong. Mike Vick and RG3 have not had any success either. Has Vick ever played an entire season? The Mobile QB who can throw in the pocket and still be dangerous like Steve Young and Russell Wilson is very different from a running back trying to play quarterback. The running QB just will not work. There are many reasons. I saw somebody say on here that this stuff works in college. 300 + schools BEST players make up the worst players on an NFL defense. College does not have the same speed on defense that the NFL does nor the complexity of a defensive system. There were times watching Pryor when I felt like I was watching Rothlesberger and was yelling at the TV to throw it away. The argument of would you rather throw it away, or take a sack and hope you make a play is THROW IT AWAY! For every 1 first down Pryor got that way, he had three 4th and forevers and got the other team better field position. If we had a punter who could consistently back the other team up while kicking out of the end zone, then it would not matter. but the truth is, you want to throw the ball away and make it more difficult for the other team to score. Like I said, I love TP, but he is not an NFL QB.. All the guys saying Pryor just needed time do realize the great QB’s don’t need to be put in a game to decide to learn how to play it right? The greats work on their craft constantly. TP Should have learned how to throw years ago and by now should know the basics.

  • James

    TP is playing QB. His job is not to increase the rushing yards. It is to increase the productivity of the offense. Productivity can be directly related to points scored. The more points you score the better chance you have to win. Neither guy had the weapons they needed.. But the weapons seemed to be developing under McGloin. The offense was scoring more points and turning the ball over less. McGloin threw 1 or less picks in most of his starts and did not take the hits and have the 4th and forevers Pryor did. (I do remember McGloin having a really bad one though). Whoever jogs out to the huddle as the Raider QB I support. Pryor is an athlete but not a QB unfortunately. He did not run a pro style offense in college? Has whoever said that ever seen an Ohio State game? It is not read option, but it is not NFL. It has always been running backs who cannot throw playing QB at Ohio State.

  • Josh Carley

    3-8 kick ass apparently

  • friendship220

    Do you mean Pryor’s 3-6? It’s exactly twice as good, or 100% better, than McGloin.

    Who did Pryor lose to?
    Who did McGloin lose to?

  • friendship220

    You think it’s so easy to just be 2nd in the league in QB rushing yards? Well the other 3 of the top 4 were Newton, Wilson and Kaepernick. They all went to the playoffs. It is not easy to get that many yards on the ground as a QB. That’s what gets you to the #3 rushing attack. Nothing superior about passing yards to rushing yards.

    McGloin lost, and he lost to 3 teams that didn’t make the playoffs.

    McGloin was slightly better at passing, and much worse at running, and that’s why McGloin lost and Pryor won, and that’s why Pryor is the better QB.

  • friendship220

    It’s not athleticism, it’s running and rushing yards. And first downs and TDs and wins. The athleticism is what allows him to run.

    If a QB can run as well as Pryor, as often as Pryor, as productively as Pryor, that QB does not have to be anywhere near as good a passer as the QB who can’t run to be as good a QB.

    QB = passing + running.
    Pryor = passing (low) + running (BEST)

    Pryor’s running production, because it’s so extremely high, makes up for a lot of failings in the passing.

    And none of those other QBs can do what Pryor does. But Pryor can play like he did against San Diego more frequently.

  • chris long

    Um not really there were a hand full of players that came back maybe a few weeks into mcwhos starting role.. besides the defence won that one game that credited mcwhos push into the starting role

  • Hangtownie

    Let’s see how many GM’s are lining up with draft picks to trade for him. That should be an indicater if somebody thinks he can develope. I was hoping TP would show some development last year. Sure he can run like the wind but made too many poor desisions. Can’t remember how many times he ran out of bounds for a loss when he could of and should of thrown the ball away.

  • Damon Dunay

    Great points Steve. If the Raiders just take the best player available at #5 they can’t miss. Matthews, Clowney, Watkins, Mack or Robinson will be there…any one of them is an instant starter and a huge upgrade. A QB should not be drafted until Round 5 if at all (Carr could be a nice future piece but McKenzie and Allen need to get the rest of the team firing on all cylinders before putting another kid under center) plus they have misfired on all QB options so far. Go get DeSean Jackson and build through the draft…this team will be much improved in 2014

  • Joseph Budd

    Biggest problem I have, with trying to compare Pryor to McGloin, is that you have two completely different QBs to deal with. One is a pocket passer, who will sit and wait for the opportunity to throw the ball. The other, is pretty much designed to either run, run and create, or look for a target. Without any line to speak of, Pryor had to do all three, and with that, won more games than McGloin. Likewise ,for those games that McGloin did better in, your stats argument doesn’t hold water, as you can have great stats…when you’re down by 21 and passing on every down. When McGloin was playing, our defense was a shambles, and when we needed a stop, we couldn’t get it, ie, Dallas. And then you look at who he beat…not exactly a shining endorsement for McGloin to beat the worst team in the NFL. A QB takes advantage of his surroundings and uses his ability in unison with them. McGloin, with his 8 picks, how many became points for the other team? Those you can’t blame on the Defense…but it came back to haunt the Raiders.
    Likewise, you also have to share blame where it’s deserved…Allen made a lot of bone-headed calls during the season, and his game of shuffleboard didn’t help anyone. Pryor’s got more to offer, at this stage, than McGloin does. As for Schaub…everyone wants him to be the next Plunkett or Gannon…but i’m wondering if he’ll be the next Collins or Brooks. I hope not.

  • friendship220

    And yet, because he’s such a great runner, he won. Often, he ran for first downs. Sometimes he was sacked.

    The NFL doesn’t like running QBs. Works hard to drive them out of the NFL.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    I agree with you but you have a coaching staff that do not know how to use this type of talent. Even though he was better than Flynn last year they still wanted to go with Flynn just to say Al was wrong.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    You would grow impatient to if every QB they want is different than you.