Friday, December 28, 2012
The time is right for Terrelle Pryor
By Bill Williamson
Dennis Allen made the right call Friday when he announced Terrelle Pryor will be the Raiders’ starting quarterback in the season finale at San Diego.
It was the only call Allen could make.
This game will be a glorified 2013 practice session for Pryor. The Raiders are 4-11 and their starting quarterback is 33. This is the perfect time to look at Pryor, a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental pick. If Pryor is great, the Raiders will have some options going into next season. If he is OK, it gives the Raiders hope he can be the backup next season and could potentially grow into the starting role. If he is terrible, the Raiders will know he is a long ways away from being an option for the immediate future.
Finding out the answer is a necessity. Had Matt Leinart started Sunday, the Raiders wouldn’t have found any answers. Leinart is a backup and it looks as if he always will be. This is not about him. It’s about seeing what Pryor can do.
I commend Allen for recognizing that. However, it clearly wasn’t his first thought. Leinart took over for Carson Palmer in the first quarter at Carolina when Palmer was lost for the season with rib and lung injuries. Pryor played just a few plays as a wrinkle. After the game, Allen said Pryor wasn’t ready to be a base-offense quarterback. Even during the week, Pryor didn’t get all of the starter’s repetitions because the Raiders didn’t totally feel good about his decision-making.
But now, he will start. The Raiders will scale back the playbook some and let Pryor rip. This offense hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 14. It needs some life.
I know Oakland fans are excited about this decision and they should be. But don’t expect any miracles. Pryor will make some plays with his legs and his arm. He has natural ability. But he will also make some bad plays Sunday. He is raw and has poor footwork and accuracy and consistency issues.
He looked good once in the preseason and that was against Detroit’s third-stringers. But he deserves the chance Sunday. He has worked hard and has shown a good attitude.
Pryor will be the 15th quarterback drafted since 2011 to start a game. We’ve seen others become stars. Let’s see what he can do.
Plus, it adds pressure on the Chargers. Preparing for Leinart and Pryor (Al Davis’ final draft pick) are two different things. Finding out two days before the game that they must face an athletic specimen without much NFL tape has to be somewhat unsettling for the Chargers.
I expect to see a lot of sandlot play Sunday and it should be fun to watch. If Pryor wasn’t playing, would there be many other reasons to watch this game other than seeing Norv Turner walk off the Qualcomm Stadium field for the last time?
It’s Pryor Time in Oakland. He’ll get to make the case Sunday for future showings.