AFC West: Matt Flynn

The Oakland Raiders' trade of quarterback Terrelle Pryor on Monday to the Seattle Seahawks for the Super Bowl champions’ seventh-round draft pick garnered the Raiders a total of seven selections in May’s NFL draft.

It also gave Oakland three seventh-round choices. Following is where the Raiders currently sit:
  • First round (No. 5 overall)
  • Second round (No. 36)
  • Third round (No. 67).
  • Fourth round (No. 107)
  • Fifth round (No. 146 sent to Seattle for QB Matt Flynn in 2013)
  • Sixth round (No. 181 sent to Houston Texans for QB Matt Schaub on March 21)
  • Seventh round (No. 219, No. 235, from Arizona Cardinals for QB Carson Palmer in 2013, No. 247, from Seattle for Pryor)

And to answer the question, no, Pryor was not traded for the pick that will become the NFL’s Mr. Irrelevant, or, the final pick in the draft. Rather, there are nine compensation picks that follow the pick the Raiders now own.
Surprised that Terrelle Pryor has been let go by the Oakland Raiders? You shouldn’t be. Not if you were reading the Silver and Black tea leaves.

At least the Raiders were able to get something in return by working out a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. Otherwise, Oakland faced the prospect of merely cutting Pryor loose with no return on Al Davis’ final draft pick.

Or, as one league source wondered Monday afternoon, “Would you want him?”

[+] EnlargeOakland's Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor
AP Photo/Tony AvelarThe Raiders replaced quarterback Terrelle Pryor with Matt McGloin once teams began to figure out Pryor.
The Raiders will receive a seventh-round pick from Seattle and now have seven picks again -- Nos. 5, 36, 67, 107, 219, 235 and 247 -- in the upcoming NFL draft.

Now, this is not meant as a slam on Pryor. Not at all. You cannot question his work ethic. His decision-making on the field? Sure. His blonde locks of late that tweaked the Raiders, even if he was merely following through on a lost bet? Absolutely.

But it has been painfully obvious since last summer that the Raiders, for lack of a better term, have not liked Pryor as a quarterback. At least, not as their quarterback.

Not even after he started nine of 11 games and finished with 1,798 passing yards in completing 57.4 percent of his passes. He had seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions while setting a franchise rushing record for a quarterback with 576 yards. His total QB rating of 30.5 was third-lowest in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks last season.

Sure, Pryor won the starting gig last preseason over Matt Flynn, but with Flynn’s arm hurting and Oakland’s offensive line leaking like a sieve at the time, the more mobile Pryor simply gave the Raiders their best chance at success.

And he was more than exciting, his NFL record-for-a-quarterback 93-yard touchdown run in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers serving as his apex for the Raiders.

But when opponents began figuring him out -- he likes to roll out to his right -- his success quickly diminished. A sprained knee and what many in the organization saw as a pouting act following a loss at the New York Giants sent Pryor to the bench in favor of an undrafted rookie whose skillset -- a more polished, pure dropback passer -- better fit the type of offense the Raiders wanted to run.

Matt McGloin is not the answer, either. That’s why the Raiders traded for a veteran, Matt Schaub, to run their offense.

It was just another sign that Pryor was on the Raiders’ backburner -- if they were keeping him warm at all. He is liked in the organization well enough, but he would frustrate many with his improvisational ways and how he would often take to social media and the traditional media to get his message across as a pseudo QB of the People.

He works hard. He’s giving away a coffee machine and, well, he works hard.

From Day 1, I compared Pryor to Tim Tebow, rather than the likes of Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson.

You have to wonder, though, if Pryor will have a similar NFL fate to Tebow's.

Now, though, he’ll ostensibly learn at the knee of Wilson. And, oh yes, the Raiders play at Seattle this coming season.
The week began for the Oakland Raiders with a visit from polarizing quarterback prospect Johnny Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M.

It will end with a stopover by an intriguing draft climber in Pittsburgh QB Tom Savage, ESPN.com has learned.

[+] EnlargeTom Savage
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsTom Savage passed for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns last season for Pitt.
Savage, initially projected as a fourth or fifth-round draft choice but becoming a hot topic of late, will fly into Oakland Friday and visit with the Raiders. Oakland is impressed with his size -- he measured 6-feet-4, 228 pounds at the combine -- and arm strength -- many observers thought he had the strongest, if not necessarily the most accurate, arm at the combine as well.

He has transferred twice, starting out at Rutgers before going to Arizona, though he never played for the Wildcats, before finding his way to Pitt. His wayward ways have been a topic of conversation for teams interested in his services, Savage said at the combine.

"You see someone transfer twice, your immediate thought is probably a red flag, there is something wrong," he said. "Obviously, my journey has been a little different. It's helped me mature as a person and I wouldn't want to do it any other way."

In his lone season at Pitt, Savage passed for 2,958 yards with 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing 61 percent of his passes last year. He was knocked out of the Panthers' Little Caesers Pizza Bowl victory over Bowling Green in the first half with a rib injury after completing 8 of 13 passes for 124 yards.

"I definitely want to bring toughness," he said. "You have to be that guy who can take a couple of hits and keep your eyes down the field and still make the big-time throws you need to make. Everyone here has big arms. You have to be accurate. You have to be a poised quarterback and be able to handle the pressure."

Savage, who would no doubt be a project in the making, would seemingly fit the mold for the Raiders, who are going all in with Matt Schaub under center and Matt McGloin as the primary backup (Terrelle Pryor has likely played his last down in Oakland, general manager Reggie McKenzie has intimated). Though that was also the plan last year when Oakland acquired Matt Flynn to be the franchise quarterback, targeted Matt Barkley before the draft before taking Tyler Wilson in the fourth round.

Besides, if Twitter is a barometer, a Raiders jersey with "SAVAGE" on the back of it would be immensely popular to fans.
Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie's mantra is to build a team through the draft, and to fill in the gaps through free agency. McKenzie loves his draft picks, but with Monday's news that the Raiders were shut out of the compensatory pick pool, he has but five picks at his disposal.

Currently the Raiders hold picks in the first round (No. 5 overall), second round (No. 36), third round (No. 67), fourth round (No. 107) and two in the seventh round (Nos. 219 and 235).

The Raiders' fifth-round pick went to the Seattle Seahawks last April 1 for quarterback Matt Flynn and Oakland's sixth-rounder just went to the Houston Texans for quarterback Matt Schaub. Oakland's second seventh-rounder (No. 235) came from the Arizona Cardinals in the deal that sent quarterback Carson Palmer to the desert on April 2, 2013.

So with only five selections at his disposal, it's easy to imagine McKenzie going into Trader Reggie mode again to garner more picks, even if it means moving down from the fifth overall pick.

Last year, McKenzie entered the draft with five picks. By the time it was over, he had 10 selections.

First, he dealt the No. 3 overall pick to the Miami Dolphins for their first-rounder at No. 12, which he used to selected cornerback D.J. Hayden, as well as the Dolphins' second-round selection at No. 42 to take offensive lineman Menelik Watson.

Then, after the Philadelphia Eagles traded in front of the Raiders to draft USC quarterback Matt Barkley, McKenzie gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their fourth-round pick at No. 100 in exchange for the Buccaneers' fourth-rounder at No. 112, which they used on Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, and their sixth-rounder at No. 181, which became running back Latavius Murray.

McKenzie completed his third trade of the draft in the sixth round, flipping the 176th overall selection acquired in the Palmer trade to Houston for the Texans' sixth-rounder at No. 184, which became tight end Mychal Rivera and seventh-rounder at No. 233, defensive end David Bass.

Even if McKenzie is not as aggressive this time around, he should be active. The key, then, is hitting on his picks, which is especially important in first year of the Raiders' reconstruction.
Reggie McKenzieAP Photo/Johnny VyOakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is doing what he can to bring in veteran leaders.
What started out as nothing short of embarrassing -- the Rodger Saffold debacle -- has leveled out quite nicely for the Oakland Raiders and third-year general manager Reggie McKenzie, thank you very much.

No, McKenzie has not made what Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece called for the weekend before free agency began, when he told me he wanted McKenzie to eschew "safe" signings in favor of "smart, calculated, fearless, Raider-ass moves."

As in bold, outside-the-box transactions that would make opponents once again quake in their cleats at the thought of the Silver and Black. But anyone who thought McKenzie was going to make a splash, like some reckless spendthrift at worst or high-stakes poker player at best, with the near $65 million in salary-cap space was simply not paying attention.

Besides his words -- he said last year he was not necessarily going shopping at Macy’s -- his actions have had a decided "Moneyball" feel to them, almost as if the bargain-hunting ways for undervalued vets of the Raiders' Coliseum co-tenants, Major League Baseball's Athletics, have been transferred to McKenzie from Billy Beane by some sort of East Bay osmosis.

For the Oakland faithful, then, the Raiders losing free agents Jared Veldheer, Lamarr Houston and Rashad Jennings was akin to the A’s saying adios to the likes of Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada and Barry Zito. Kind of.

And with that as your backdrop, and in not only signing eight veteran free agents, plus re-signing three of their own in safeties Charles Woodson and Usama Young and running back Darren McFadden, and acquiring quarterback Matt Schaub in a trade for a sixth-round draft pick before he restructured his contract to make it more cap-friendly this season, McKenzie is following his blueprint to a T.

Now, whether that translates to something better than a third straight 4-12 record remains to be seen. But McKenzie is doing what he set out to do, Saffold be damned.

"What we're trying to do is add some veteran leadership, guys who have some production, and just make sure we upgrade this team," McKenzie told the Bay Area News Group last week. "And that's the bottom line, trying to upgrade the team through production and the leadership."

Defensive end Justin Tuck comes with two Super Bowl rings and turns 31 on March 29. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley has a ring in two trips to the Super Bowl and turns 30 in November. Receiver James Jones beat Woodley in the Super Bowl and he turns 30 on March 31.

Offensive linemen Kevin Boothe, originally a Raiders draft pick who won two rings with the New York Giants, and Donald Penn, a Pro Bowl left tackle, both turn 31 before the season opens.

[+] EnlargeJustin Tuck sacks Kirk Cousins
AP Photo/Julio CortezThe Raiders hope Justin Tuck still has something left in the tank.
Defensive end Antonio Smith, who has 27 sacks the past five seasons and has gone to a Pro Bowl, turns 33 in October, while cornerback Tarell Brown, who has started 42 of his past 45 games, is 29 and right tackle Austin Howard, seen as a rising star on the line with only two sacks allowed last season, is the relative babe at 27.

Even Schaub -- a two-time Pro Bowler who was due to make $11 million this season before the restructure lowered his base salary for 2014 but still enables him to make between $15 and $20 million the next two years, per ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter -- turns 33 in June.

"I definitely can see Matt Schaub being the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders for more than just a year or two," coach Dennis Allen said. "You look at Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, all these guys are beginning to get up there in age, so I think that [Schaub] can play for a while."

Yes, things have quieted down a bit around the Raiders' compound since that initial Saffold fiasco angered more than a few at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway and had more wondering what, exactly, McKenzie was doing in the initial hours of free agency. He had lost the Raiders' two best free agents in Veldheer and Houston and agreed to a massive five-year, $42.5 million deal, with $21 million guaranteed, with an injury-prone right guard in Saffold before the Raiders medical staff flunked him with a bad shoulder and the deal was off.

With McKenzie already having a bad run with injured players in drafting D.J. Hayden last year as well as acquiring a sore-armed quarterback in Matt Flynn, throwing so much cash at an offensive lineman who may have required surgery and missed the offseason programs was too much to stomach.

And while one report had owner Mark Davis vetoing the Saffold deal amid rumors of "buyer's remorse," a Raiders source told ESPN.com that Davis merely let his feelings be known that he was not entirely on board with signing another injured player, but the personnel staff could do whatever it, ahem, liked.

Semantics? No doubt. But this much is true: McKenzie has rebounded after a rough start to free agency two weeks ago and stayed his course as he and Allen prepare for what could be a make-or-break season for both.

"The good news is that we've had some experience in that area," Allen said of roster turnover. "When you look at the guys that we're bringing in here, they're guys that have been a part of championship teams and they understand what it takes to win and win at a high level in this league. They're guys that can help us bring along some of these young players that we feel like have a chance to develop into good football players for us.

"It's a challenge, but that's the fun part."

It was 1960s activist Jack Weinberg who made popular the slogan, "Don't trust anyone over 30." McKenzie, though, is seemingly putting all of the Raiders' trust there ... and in guys about to turn 30. It's part of his plan, for better or worse.

A look at Raiders' top cap figures

February, 12, 2014
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For the first time since Reggie McKenzie became the Oakland Raiders' general manager two years ago, he does not have to spend his offseason figuring out which players to cut, how to slash salary cap numbers to get under the salary cap.

Indeed, in past years, the fact that two guys no longer with the team would account for more than $8.8 million in dead money would cause much handwringing. But the financial footprints left by Michael Huff ($6,208,750) and McKenzie acquisition Matt Flynn ($2,625,000) are palatable with Oakland boasting more than $61.7 million in cap space, per overthecap.com.

McKenzie need not go through any couch cushions to find spare change to re-sign those of his 18 unrestricted free agents he deems worthy, or make runs at front-line free agents on the market. But it is interesting to see which players currently under contract boast the largest cap numbers for 2014.

Tyvon Branch ($7.157 million) -- the strong safety appeared in all of two games a year ago, breaking his lower right leg in the first quarter of the Raiders' home opener. He attempted a late-season comeback but could not get right and was placed on injured reserve before appearing in another game.

Mike Brisiel ($5.310 million) -- a potential cut? The right guard was a warrior in 2013, albeit a wounded one. Tony Bergstrom, McKenzie's first-ever draft pick, beating out Brisiel would not necessarily be a bad thing for the future of the franchise.

Kevin Burnett ($4.142 million) -- Veteran presence in the linebacker corps, a potential place to save money ... if the Raiders needed to save money.

Marcel Reece ($3.980 milion) -- The face of the franchise's future, an absolute bargain for a two-time Pro Bowl fullback.

Nick Roach ($3.771 million) -- Played every defensive snap in his first year as a Raider, team defensive MVP, made fans forget about Rolando What's His Name.

Sebastian Janikowski ($3.060 million) -- Highest-paid kicker in the game has a lot to prove after struggling with nine missed field goals in his first season with new contract.

-financial figures from overthecap.com
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders traded away Carson Palmer after a 4,018-yard passing season in 2012 ... and he threw for a career-high 4,274 yards with the Arizona Cardinals in 2013.

The Raiders traded for Matt Flynn in hopes he would become a franchise quarterback ... and he washed out and was cut in October, after one start.

Oakland used a fourth-round draft pick to select Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson ... only to waive him twice, sign him to the practice squad twice and watch him leave when the Tennessee Titans picked him up.

[+] EnlargeOakland's Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor
AP Photo/Tony AvelarNeither Oakland coach Dennis Allen nor GM Reggie McKenzie is sure if the Raiders' QB of the future is on the roster.
With so much QB carnage in such a short amount of time, is general manager Reggie McKenzie confident in his staff's ability to identify and properly scout a quarterback?

"Yes I am," McKenzie said Thursday in a 45-minute sit down with six reporters who cover the team regularly.

The differing skill sets of Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin essentially split the season, and in his final media conference of the season coach Dennis Allen said he was not sure if the quarterback of the future was in the building.

I asked McKenzie if he shared Allen's view and, if so, how he attacks that shortcoming.

McKenzie nodded.

"I'm not sure either," he said. "We've got two young players who played this year (and) from an experience standpoint there wasn't any, so neither one of them stepped up and said, ‘I'm the franchise quarterback.' So absolutely, we're going to always continue to upgrade and find that guy. Now how we find them, we'll figure that out in the next few months, to what's available to us."

McKenzie allowed that with so much youth and inexperience under center last season, the Raiders need a veteran presence. And, perhaps, that is why they recently signed Trent Edwards to a reserve/future contract.

"He's a senior guy that's been there, done that," McKenzie said. "You're talking about what we have in place now, even around the building here in the next month or so, you've got a guy that our young guys can bounce stuff off of. And starting that process ASAP, I think, is important for the young guys."

That does not mean, however, that the Raiders are done tinkering with the position. Far from it. Not when the Raiders still have the No. 5 overall pick in May's draft.

Yes, McKenzie was asked about Texas A&M's polarizing Johnny Manziel.

"He's a playmaker," McKenzie said with a smile. "Whether it's him or whether it's any one of these other guys, when you can add a playmaker to your team that's what you're shooting for. Be it the draft, be it (a) free agent. It doesn't matter. And Johnny is a playmaker."

Still, McKenzie said he'd be reluctant to start a rookie quarterback again and would rather build the team up around one until he was ready to play.

"You have to make sure you surround those young players like that with good football players, whether it's weapons, protection from an offensive line standpoint, run game," McKenzie said. "If you're going to talk about playing a rookie, I think the fair way to do it is surround him (with talent), not just ride his shoulders. It's hard. I don't care how good the rookie is.

"To make him do everything his first year is not an easy task. You'd rather not. You'd rather have a guy in place who can get you through the season, especially the early part of the season."

Hence the addition of someone like an Edwards. And McKenzie said he has no true preference for a style of quarterback, be it a runner like Pryor, who rushed for a franchise single-season record 527 yards, including a 93-yard TD run that set an NFL record, or a pocket passer like McGloin, who had a QB rating of 76.1.

Still, neither Pryor, who started nine games and threw for 1,7,98 yards on 57.4 percent passing with 7 TDs and 11 INTs, nor McGloin, who was 1-5 as the starter, truly commandeering the job last season left room for introspection.

"With Terrelle I thought he started out pretty good," McKenzie said. "But it was the inconsistency and making the decisions, whether to throw, whether to run, avoid (the pass rush) and get rid of the ball. Whatever it is, that needs to continue to improve and he was too inconsistent there.

"Terrelle's got a ways to go with the decision making and the timing of throwing (to) guys (who are) open in that regard."

And McGloin, who completed 55.9 percent of his passes for 1,547 yards with 8 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in seven games?

"I thought he came in and I thought he did a pretty good job for what he was asked to do," McKenzie said. "He was confident in where he could throw the ball, his timing, his decision-making. Kind of sputtered a little bit, trying to throw the football when he shouldn't have.

"I thought McGloin showed some positive things that looked like a real quarterback from a standpoint of getting the ball out of his hands and, not being the greatest of mobile, moving, running guys, he didn't take a lot of sacks. So ... to be looked at as one of the non-athletic quarterbacks, per se, he did a good job of getting the ball out of his hand and not putting us in a negative yard-situation. So, you like some of the things there. If you can build on it and get better with the throws and the timing and all that, he should be solid."
ALAMEDA, Calif. – When Greg Olson was hired in January to be the Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator, his quarterback was Carson Palmer.

Then the Raiders acquired Matt Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks and traded Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals before drafting Tyler Wilson in the fourth round. Terrelle Pryor beat out Flynn for the starting job at the end of training camp and started eight of the Raiders’ first nine games, Flynn was cut after a disastrous start against Washington when Pryor was concussed, undrafted rookie Matt McGloin replaced Pryor when he went down with a sprained right knee and now Pryor will start the season finale against the Denver Broncos.

[+] EnlargeGreg Olson
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsGreg Olson has two quarterbacks in Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin with very different skill sets.
So from Olson’s perspective, just how challenging a task is it for him to put together game plans for two quarterbacks with such different skill sets as Pryor and McGloin possess?

“You knew that as you were approaching the season,” Olson said. “This is a plan: We’re going to give you kind of two different offenses per se. If you can keep the core group of players with you throughout the season, I think it’s much more manageable.

“I think schematically, although we were doing some more things with Terrelle in terms of him running the ball and running the read-arc and the arc-option things, there was a lot of it that carried over where, and I hate to get into the football aspect, but where the linemen knew that, ‘OK, on this particular play we may have to push back two defenders, but because Terelle has the option to pull it, we’re only going to push back one defender.’ There is some carryover, but I think it’s important that you have those guys, particularly the guys up front, staying consistent and having a consistent core of players up front.”

Flynn was supposed to be the franchise quarterback, but with a beat-up offensive line and Flynn’s sore arm, it was not a good fit.

“I think going into the season the position became unsettled and so we have an unsettled quarterback situation here,” Olson said. “I like to think [Pryor and McGloin] look at it as a great opportunity for ‘me’ to come in and prove that ‘I’ can play and ‘I’ can be that guy on this team.”

Olson was the Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterbacks coach in 2012, and compared the talent on their roster to what is on the Raiders’ roster. And with two young quarterbacks like Pryor and McGloin, it would be hard to expect much from them with the “talent” around them.

Still, coach Dennis Allen has already said that he thinks McGloin may have a future in Oakland. The evaluation of Pryor, meanwhile, continues this weekend.

“I think it just gives us a chance now to decide where exactly we’re at at the quarterback position, which we’ll discuss at the end of the season with management and ownership and what we feel like our needs are as a coaching staff and where we feel like these guys are at right now,” Olson said. “Right now, if we felt like either one of them was a certain number one we would be moving in that direction.

“Let’s understand that with these quarterbacks, Terrelle and Matt McGloin, they’re young quarterbacks and they can’t shoulder the load at this point. We have to make sure that there’s development there, at least, and if we feel like these are guys we can develop moving forward and maybe add some pieces to the puzzle around them, those would be the questions and the discussions that we’ll have in the offseason when this thing is all done.”
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- While Terrelle Pryor is sure he was wrong in how he handled the specifics of his injury back in early November, he is far from positive he will ever get another shot at being the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.

“I'm not really sure, you know?” Pryor said this week. “I'll just try to get better and I'll try to make the best of my situation every day in practice and keep learning. Like I told you guys before -- what I need is experience. That's what I need. I need experience and obviously, I need to get better at things and we all do. But that's the main thing.

“I know what I need to get better at and you know, I had a fun time playing eight games, or whatever I did, and we did some good things and (I will) just try to build off that.”

[+] EnlargeTerrelle Pryor
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsTerrelle Pryor has passed for 1,591 yards with 5 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. He's added 527 rushing yards.
Pryor beat out Matt Flynn for the starting gig in training camp, partly because Pryor's mobility was needed behind a makeshift offensive line. And when Pryor excelled early -- his passing was markedly improved from OTAs -- he was seemingly improving by the snap.

In the Raiders' late-night 27-17 defeat of the San Diego Chargers on Oct. 6 at the O.co Coliseum, Pryor put on a show in completing 18 of 23 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 31 yards.

Then defenses caught on to his predilection of rolling to his right and adjusted accordingly. He still had the occasional highlight reel play (remember that breathtaking record-for-a-quarterback 93-yard touchdown run against the Pittsburgh Steelers?), but he went down with an injured right knee late in the blowout lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 3. And when he could show no burst on his runs or push off on his passes in a head-scratching loss at the New York Giants a week later, it was obvious something was amiss.

Pryor, who had been a model teammate earlier in the season, sulked in his postgame media conference and said he had a sprained MCL.

Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, who is more the prototypical pocket passer, took over the next week, beating the Houston Texans, and has held the job since.

“I made an excuse,” Pryor said. “That was the thing. Instead of going and taking the high road and not blaming that (injury), I kind of took the low road and wasn't a leader that day by saying, ‘Hey, my knee was a problem.' And I blamed it on that, whether it was the case or not. I just think it was bad leadership ... by making an excuse.

“It was a mistake by making an excuse.”

Conspiracy theorists who believe the Raiders coaching staff and front office were never sold on Pryor will say he gave them a reason to bench him in favor of McGloin.

“Everyone knew that I had a torn MCL,” Pryor said. “So, a torn MCL is a torn MCL. And (with) the way I move, you know?”

Truth is, Pryor said he was fazed by the knee injury, and he lost his job due to injury and ineffectiveness. Whether or not a now-healthy Pryor should get another shot behind a rebuilt and solidified offensive line -- with Jared Veldheer at left tackle and Khalif Barnes at left guard -- is another conversation.

Especially with just two games remaining in the season.

“Would you want to go in there and do that, do the system-type deal? Yeah, absolutely,” Pryor said. “You want to be exactly what the coaches want you to be. You want to make plays from the pocket. I made plenty of passes in the pocket.”

Pryor, who was 3-5 as the Raiders starter, has completed 57.7 percent of his passes for 1,591 yards with five touchdowns, 11 interceptions and nine passes of at least 25 yards. He has been picked off eight times, though, since his last TD pass.

He also has 527 rushing yards on 74 carries, with eight runs of 20-plus yards.

It's important to note that while the competitor in Pryor may not fully agree with coach Dennis Allen's decision to go with McGloin, Pryor has accepted it. And Pryor could not use the word “respect” enough when talking about Allen.

So much so that Pryor, who has one more year remaining on his rookie contract after being selected by the late Al Davis with a third-round supplemental draft pick in 2011, said he would not approach Allen about his future chances at competing for the starting gig until after the season.

“That's what I owe to my teammates,” he said.

As such, he'll continue to stand on the sidelines and enter the game if called upon, as he's done the past two games -- for a series at the New York Jets and in the middle of a series against the Kansas City Chiefs.

In fact, he said he was not told he'd enter the Chiefs game until the play before he was sent in, making it a necessity to keep his body warm at all times on the sidelines.

“It's just, whatever the coaches want to do, I'm on board with that,” Pryor said. “I just want to be the team player that we all want to be. That's their choice; I can't fight it if that's what they want. I'm all for whatever they want.”
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen has said from Day 1 that the NFL is a results-oriented business. He also pounds the pulpit by saying he'll use the players that give the Raiders the best chance to win.

So why, then, is Matt McGloin still the Raiders' starting quarterback after he threw four interceptions, lost a fumble and seemed to force throws when he drifted in the pocket in the Raiders' record-breaking 56-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday?

McGloin's record as a starter is now 1-4. Terrelle Pryor is 3-5. Matt Flynn was 0-1.

[+] EnlargeMatt McGloin
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesSince he became the Raiders starter, Matt McGloin leads the NFL in completions of at least 25 yards.
Part of it is because McGloin has given Allen enough glimpses of positive plays, particularly explosive plays.

Consider: Since McGloin became the Raiders' starter against the Houston Texans on Nov. 17, he has an NFL-high 15 completions of at least 25 yards. The QB with the second-highest number of such throws in that time frame? Some dude in the Arizona desert named Carson Palmer, with 13.

And Allen insisted the Raiders would continue with the QB Carousel, so to speak.

“Well, listen, we're still looking at it,” Allen said. “We're still looking at it. We want to still be able to use Terrelle in certain situations, but Matt's our starting quarterback. I think he's earned that right and he's gone in and played well.

“He didn't play well (against the Chiefs). He made some mistakes ... it's tough to learn from those rookie mistakes and those young mistakes. Those are, it hurts for all of us.”

The questions, then, are these: is either McGloin or Pryor the Raiders' QB of the future? And if not, with the poor track record of this regime in an admittedly small sample size of identifying a quarterback, can Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie be trusted in finding one?

Or have you forgotten how Palmer was shipped out of town in favor of Flynn? Or how the Raiders drafted Tyler Wilson in the fourth round and then cut him not once, but twice? How Pryor looked legit early and then faded? How McGloin basically earned the starting gig as a street free agent?

“Hey, listen, sometimes things don't work out,” Allen said. “Sometimes mistakes are made. But I don't think that's, listen, I'm confident in Reggie McKenzie and the personnel staff in being able to evaluate football players, quarterbacks, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, I'm very confident in his ability to do that, I'm very confident in our ability as a coaching staff to be able to do that.

“Obviously, we've seen something in Matt McGloin that we like, that we think, there's something there as a quarterback. I think he's proven that. I think he's also proven that he's still a young player and he's going to make some mistakes. But I'm very confident in our ability to evaluate all positions.”

McGloin has a season QB rating of 78.8 in completing 55.7 percent of his passes for 1,341 yards and eight touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Pryor's rating is 66.3 on a 57.9 completion percentage as he has passed for 1,591 yards with five TDs and 11 picks. He has also rushed for 527 yards on 74 carries, including a record-for-a-QB 93-yard touchdown run. He also has nine passes of at least 25 yards, with eight runs of 20-plus yards.

Allen was in his first year as an assistant coach with the New Orleans Saints when the Saints brought in Drew Brees.

“You look at all the great teams in the league that have been at the top of the league for a long period of time,” Allen said, “all of them have that great franchise quarterback. And that's what all of them are striving to get.”

Yes, including the Raiders.
ALAMEDA, Calif. – With the Oakland Raiders having lost five of six games, including three straight, a tough three-game stretch against the AFC West to close the season, beginning with Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and second-year coach Dennis Allen in danger of going a combined 8-24, speculation has begun on not only Allen’s future with the organization, but also that of general manager Reggie McKenzie.

Raiders owner Mark Davis has said that while he was OK with the team staying afloat last year so long as there was no regression, he wanted to see progress this season.

So how does he define progress – by won-loss records, or by the team being more competitive in said losses?

Davis spoke with Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group and broached a few topics on the future of the team.

On if he’s seen enough progress from Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie: “There’s three games to go, and they’re important games. I don’t really want to say anything more than that until after the season. But what I can tell you is we just went through the two-year deconstruction of the Raiders. We had to do it. It wasn’t fun, but it was something we had to do. And it’s basically complete. That is done. And the reconstruction is going to begin right after this season is over. That’s what we’ve got to do – we’ve got to build this team back up. And we’re in a good position – with all the dead money, the cap stuff, the upside-down contracts … they’re all gone. We’re in a strong position now with all that, because of how we’ve planned and gone through this deconstruction. And now we can go forward.”

On if he credits McKenzie and Allen for the position they’re in now, and if he goes forward with them: “I’m not going to get into any of that while the season’s going on. I can tell you that once the season’s over, Reggie will debrief all the coaches, and all that, and then Reggie will debrief me, and we’ll talk about what we’re going to do. That’s when the deconstruction turns into the reconstruction, and we see how we’re going to go ahead with everything. It’s an exciting time for us. It’s also been a tough time for the fans, it’s been a tough time for me, it’s been a tough time for everybody. But what do they say about patience? If you’re committed to something, you have to be patient with it. That’s the thing about this season – at times we’ve shown that there’s something there, and at times we’ve shown that maybe there’s not. There’s progress, if you look at it that way, because it makes the disappointment that much harder. When you’ve made some progress, patience is a harder thing to have.”

On if it’s safe to assume McKenzie retains Davis’ confidence going forward: “I’m very happy with the job he’s done so far. But I’m not even thinking about those things right now – we’ve got games to play and the evaluation continues on everything. These are division games; these are important games; at some point in time, these are the games we have to win. We’ve got to do this right. This is when it gets real.”

On if McKenzie is the right evaluator for a quarterback after missing on Matt Flynn: “All I’ll say is that, yes, the quarterback is very, very important. I’ll agree on that part. I’m not going to say anything else right now.”

Also keep in mind that Wednesday afternoon news broke that Ray Anderson was stepping down as the NFL’s vice president of football operations. Anderson talked with Davis last offseason about a potential role as team president and has attended at least one Raiders game this season.
ALAMEDA, Calif. – Two mistakes, really, stand out when it comes to Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin’s play last week at the Dallas Cowboys.

There was the fumbled snap inside the Raiders 5-yard line that was recovered by the Cowboys and, one play later, Dallas converted into its first touchdown late in the first quarter to tie the game, 7-7.

[+] EnlargeMatt McGloin
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsRaiders QB Matt McGloin said he's determined not to repeat the same mistakes he made in a loss to Dallas last week.
Then there was McGloin’s ill-fated decision to throw a jump ball to the 5-foot-9 Jacoby Ford in the end zone that, had it been completed, would have tied the game at 28-28, with the extra point, midway through the fourth quarter. Instead it was intercepted by the 6-foot Brandon Carr, and the Cowboys went on to win, 31-24.

And as the Raiders prepare for the New York Jets, one of McGloin’s purported greatest strengths in his nascent NFL career is to learn from his mistakes.

“He’s been pretty good, as far as getting the ball out with timing, throwing the ball accurately,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “We’ve been able to get some explosive passes down the field, so I just really want to see him continue.

“He’s still a young player. Unfortunately for us, both the quarterbacks that we’ve played the majority of the season with are really relatively young at the position. You want to see those guys continue to grow.”

Truly, the only way McGloin and Terrelle Pryor can grow is by learning from their mistakes, right?

“I think so,” McGloin said. “I think any time you watch film or you watch your last game, you pick up on things that you can’t believe happened. Last week, the fumbled snap, I’ve been snapping with that guy [Stefen Wisniewski] since college. Things like that happen that shouldn’t have happened.”

Then what about the end zone pick?

“Another bad, bad mistake by me,” McGloin said. “It’s stuff like that that you can’t believe happened. But at the same time you learn from it and you gain experience from it. You keep improving and hope the next time those plays come around, you don’t make the same mistake twice.”

Because while the fumbled snap could be seen as a physical mistake, the throw to Ford was a mental miscue.

“It was just a bad decision by me.” McGloin said. “The matchup wasn’t great. Obviously, Jacoby isn’t the biggest guy in the world for a jump ball. Not taking anything away, he’s a great player for us. That just wasn’t a good decision by me. I have to make a better decision there.”

You could forgive McGloin for forcing the action. After all, he is an undrafted rookie who entered training camp as a fourth-stringer, behind Tyler Wilson, Pryor and Matt Flynn and is still trying to prove himself.

But while McGloin does pride himself on correcting his mistakes quickly, the key is employing said solutions on the field.

“You have to, especially at the quarterback position,” he said. “You have to learn from your mistakes and move on because everyone’s expecting you not to make the same mistake twice. If you do, you’re not going to be in a starting position for long.”

Just ask Flynn … or even Pryor.

Double Coverage: Raiders at Cowboys

November, 27, 2013
11/27/13
7:00
PM ET
Romo-RoachAP PhotoTony Romo's Cowboys host Nick Roach and the Raiders in a Thanksgiving Day duel.
IRVING, Texas -- For the second time in five years, the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders meet on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium.

The Cowboys won the 2009 matchup 24-7 with Tony Romo throwing for 309 yards and two touchdowns and Miles Austin catching seven passes for 145 yards. Since that game Austin has had more yards in a game just twice.

ESPN.com's Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez and Cowboys reporter Todd Archer bring you this week's holiday version of Double Coverage.

Todd Archer: The Cowboys are bad in most areas defensively, but they have given up 200 yards rushing in three games this season. The Raiders' strength, from afar, seems to be their running game. What makes it so good and how has it differed with Terrelle Pryor out?

Paul Gutierrez: Hey, Todd, it's not just Pryor being out, but also Darren McFadden, who has missed three straight games and four overall with a strained right hamstring. He said Monday night he hopes to play after practicing (limited) for the first time since Nov. 1. The run game, though, has not missed a beat with underrated Rashad Jennings picking up the slack. In the past four games, he has run for 413 yards while averaging 5.7 yards per carry. In fact, the running game has been so surprisingly solid without McFadden and Pryor that the play-action pass game has picked up with undrafted rookie Matt McGloin under center.

Speaking of passing games ... no doubt Tony Romo can rack up stats, but has he decided to assume more of a leadership role yet as the QB of America's Team, or is that just not in his makeup?

Archer: He has developed over the years as a leader, but there's no question that this has been "his" team the past three seasons. He is the veteran. He is the guy the Cowboys look to. The guys on this team now don't know of the Romo who burst on the scene in 2006 or had to deal with the Terrell Owens stuff. He's the guy who led the lockout practices and has been the big voice in the room. This year he has been given the added responsibility of being more involved in the game plan. The Cowboys' past two wins have come on last-minute drives led by Romo to beat Minnesota and the New York Giants. I don't think there's anybody questioning his leadership anymore. And if they did, well, the $106 million extension Jerry Jones gave him in the offseason should be more than enough proof to those guys that this is Romo's team.

Let's stick with the quarterback theme. Before the Cowboys lucked into Romo, they ran through a ton of guys after Troy Aikman's departure. Is there any reason to believe McGloin or Pryor can be a solution or do the Raiders need to go after one of these guys in next April's draft?

Gutierrez: Well, the way I put it earlier in the season, before Pryor hit his purported ceiling and sprained his right knee, robbing him of his greatest strength (running) while accentuating his biggest weakness (passing), if Pryor was not the Raiders' Mr. Right, he was their Mr. Right Now. McGloin is a pure quarterback, a pocket passer whom Dennis Allen prefers for what he wants to accomplish offensively. It's hard to give Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie much credit for their evaluation of QBs, though, what with their misses on Matt Flynn and Tyler Wilson, not caring much for Pryor early on and then, similar to the Cowboys with Romo, stumbling upon McGloin. But it's hard to see them going all in with the undrafted rookie from Penn State, too. At least hard at the moment. Unless McGloin continues to improve and wins a few games, it would behoove the Raiders to draft another QB if they see one as a can't-miss prospect. I know, I know, they really wanted USC's Matt Barkley but Philadelphia traded in front of them so they traded back and selected Wilson. Oops. There is no doubt, though, that this Raiders regime prefers McGloin as a prototypical QB over the more electric Pryor.

No matter who is under center for Oakland, though, the Raiders' QB is going to have to keep an eye on DeMarcus Ware. Is he rounding back into shape as a dominant pass-rusher, or is he more decoy as he rehabs from his quad strain?

Archer: I think he's still feeling his way through it. The fact that he made it through the Giants game healthy was a plus. He has been dinged up in just about every game with stinger and back strains earlier in the season before the quadriceps injury. We'll see how he fares on a short week, but the defense is a lot better with even the threat of Ware on the field. Jason Hatcher had two sacks against the Giants at least in part because of the attention Ware received. Ware has talked about wanting to make up for lost time. He has five sacks so far, his fewest this late in a season since his rookie year in 2005. Thursday would be a good time to look like the DeMarcus Ware of old.

This game is a homecoming of sorts for guys like Mike Jenkins, Andre Gurode, Kevin Burnett and Tony Sparano, but it's a real homecoming for Dennis Allen. How is he perceived in Oakland and will McKenzie be more patient with him than, say, Al Davis would have been?

Gutierrez: The jury, so to speak, is still out on Allen in the streets of Silver and Blackdom. Of course, when the Raiders win a game, he's the man. When he loses, the fans turn on him and start pining for Jon Gruden ... again. But isn't that the nature of the beast? Even Allen himself said this was a results-oriented business. Of course, he was referring to the quarterback position at the time, but it still applies. Make no mistake about it, Allen is McKenzie's "guy" and he's going to roll with him and have patience with him. The plan coming in was to give Allen at least three years to right this ship and really, the only thing that could damage Allen's chances of lasting another year would be if the team quit on him, like it did last November before playing hard again at the end. Then again, it might not be McKenzie's choice. Owner Mark Davis is a more patient owner than his father and wants McKenzie to handle all football-related decisions. But a year after stating he was fine with just about anything but regression, Davis wants progress. Stagnancy won't cut it, either. So, stay tuned.

Sticking with the coaching theme, is Jason Garrett in Jerry World for the long haul, or was Jerry Jones' support merely the dreaded vote of confidence?

Archer: Jerry has publicly backed Garrett, but he's also been a guy who's said, "Just because I say something, doesn't mean it's true." I do know this: He wants Garrett to be the guy. He desperately wants it to work. I really believe that. He believes in Garrett's approach and how he builds a team. Garrett will provide some blow-back to Jerry but not as much as, say, a Bill Parcells. Garrett knows what makes Jerry work and knows how to work around it to a degree or push Jerry in a certain direction. Honestly, Cowboys fans should want the Garrett deal to work out because it might be the best combination to mitigate the bad parts of Jerry and keep the good parts of Jerry.


ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders parting ways with quarterback Matt Flynn says more about the team acknowledging a mistake than the cost-conscious franchise trying to save a buck.

Because really, the only way the Raiders save any money is if another team signs Flynn, who has a $1.25 million base salary this year and a $5.25 million bonus. That makes $6.5 million for all of one start for Oakland in 2013.

The Raiders will take a salary cap hit of $2.625 million for 2014.

And while Oakland did give up a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft to Seattle as well as a 2015 conditional pick, the conditional pick reportedly is now void since Flynn will not meet certain playing incentives in being cut. A day after the Raiders acquired Flynn, they traded Carson Palmer to Arizona for draft picks that eventually became tight end Mychal Rivera and defensive end David Bass, who was cut in camp.

So where do the Raiders go from here at quarterback?

Terrelle Pryor is the unquestioned starter as coach Dennis Allen said he is “leaps and bounds ahead of where we thought he'd be at this time” as an NFL quarterback. His passer rating of 135.7 in the Raiders' 27-17 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night was the highest by a Raiders quarterback since Rich Gannon’s 138.9 against Tennessee on Sept. 29, 2002.

The Raiders also like undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, who surpassed Flynn on the depth chart last week, and Allen said fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson “has improved” since getting cut and being signed to the practice squad after 31 teams took a pass on him.

But they are not completely sold on so much inexperience under center.

“We’ll look,” Allen said. “We’ll always be looking in terms of what’s out there … and see if there's any options out there that can make us a better football team.”

Which is why the Raiders are bringing in David Carr, the top pick of the 2002 draft out of Fresno State by the Houston Texans, and, reportedly, Pat White, a second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2009, for workouts on Tuesday.

The Raiders had been linked to Josh Freeman, before reports of his signing with Minnesota surfaced Sunday night.

“If he could come in and help, come in and help,” Pryor said.

He was referring to Freeman, but he very well could have been talking about any other free agent quarterback currently on the market who catches Oakland's fancy.
ALAMEDA, Calif. – Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson coached Josh Freeman for three years in Tampa Bay. So the news that the quarterback had been released by the Buccaneers Thursday morning after a mostly acrimonious relationship struck a nerve with Olson.

“You know, I’ve always been a fan of Josh’s,” Olson said. “I have a lot of respect for him, as a person and a player, and it’s unfortunate to me to watch what happened in Tampa … really over the last couple of years.”

Olson was Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator from 2008 through 2011, and the Buccaneers used their first-round draft pick, No. 17 overall, on Freeman in 2009.

“But I’ve always had the utmost respect for him and I think he’s a great player,” Olson added. “I feel bad for him and that situation, how it’s played out. I just found out myself coming off the practice field that he was released.

“So, I don’t think there’s any winners for anybody in that situation.”

Freeman is reportedly due $6.2 million by Tampa Bay for the remainder of this season.

The Raiders, meanwhile, are going all in with Terrelle Pryor at quarterback after Matt Flynn, who was acquired from Seattle for a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 and a conditional pick in 2015, was demoted to third-string, behind Pryor and undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. Flynn is making $6.5 million this season on a restructured contract.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen was asked if there was any interest in Freeman.

"I don't know," Allen said softly.

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