Oakland’s Pryorities: Allen Was Right Not to Start Terrelle
By Bess Shapiro
Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor has helped excite fans of the Silver and Black with his scrambling ability and throws on the run. The Raiders might only be 1-3, but Pryor is the key their rebuilding efforts. When Pryor got his bell rung against the Denver Broncos in Week 3, all reporters and fans could ask about was whether Pryor would play against the Washington Redskins. Dennis Allen made the decision not to start him when Pryor still showed sensitivity to light. It was the right decision.
Pryor said he was feeling good and ready to go. Could he have played? Some on Twitter and other places some suggested that Allen was being too cautious. Why not start Pryor, and if he started to stumble, take him out? Perhaps Pryor would have done fine, but concussions are nothing to fool with. Pryor is emerging as the leader of the Raiders. To jeopardize his health early in the season would be a grievous mistake. Look no further than Matt Flynn’s performance.
Flynn isn’t the worst quarterback in the NFL. He’s had some decent games in his career, as a backup. But there was a reason he couldn’t beat out Pryor in preseason. He can’t scramble and he can’t adjust if a play gets busted or fails to materialize. Last Sunday, he couldn’t see the field well enough to find his receivers. He was sacked seven times as the Raiders lost to the previously winless Washington Redskins, a team with a quarterback who has his own health problems, yet proved to be more explosive than Flynn.
If Pryor had gone in at less than 100%, taken another hard hit and gotten up wobbly, it would have been a major setback. It would have meant another battery of tests, more missed time and possibly more serious health problems down the road. The bench isn’t very deep. After Flynn, there is raw rookie Matt McGloin. Then there is Tyler Wilson on the practice squad, who couldn’t beat out all three.
In the three games he has started, Pryor has rushed for 198 yards, picking up the slack where running back Darren McFadden couldn’t. He has also thrown for 624 yards and two touchdowns. He’s no Peyton Manning, but he has the makings of solid quarterback. Although he has thrown a couple of interceptions, Pryor has minimized the forced errors that he was making in the preseason. He can be forgiven a rookie mistake or two, since that he’s not that far removed from being one. It’s not his fault that the offensive line is currently a disaster. It was even more brutal for Flynn last Sunday, but at least Pryor can get away.
To push the envelope on Pryor’s health at any point in the season would jeopardize a potential franchise quarterback where there hasn’t been one worth praising in more than a decade.