NFL Nation: Tom House

QB Watch: Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor

October, 23, 2013
A weekly examination of the Raiders’ quarterback play.

Rewind: After taking a step back in his development with three interceptions -- including a pick-six -- and 10 sacks in Kansas City on Oct. 13, Terrelle Pryor went back to his source, so to speak, during the Raiders' bye week. Or rather, his source came to him. QB guru Tom House ventured to Oakland Sunday to work with Pryor on his mechanics, and if it helped with the likes of Drew Brees and Tom Brady, why not, right? Pryor also spent hours watching video and studying at the Raiders' facility, though he was unable to work with Oakland coaches over the break because of CBA regulations.

Fast-forward: Pryor and his coaches, from Dennis Allen to offensive coordinator Greg Olson to QB coach John DeFilippo, have all acknowledged the quarterback hit a bump in the road against the Chiefs. The question, then, is how will Pryor react to such a setback? The early returns suggest he's taking the correct path in hitting the books and getting in extra work over the bye. "You know me," he said, "steady trying to get better."

Bittersweet? Pryor, 24, is a Steel City kid -- by way of nearby Jeannette -- who grew up rooting hard for the Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Imagine, then, the primal feelings he’ll have to fight through Sunday at the Coliseum when he takes on his childhood heroes.

Prediction: Sure, Kansas City’s defense hits hard. But now Pryor will get a whole new definition courtesy of the Steelers. The book is out on Pryor, that he prefers to roll out to his right to buy himself some time. Expect Steelers safety Troy Polamalu to shadow him as a spy all day long.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow continues to work on his quirky throwing motion. Tebow has one of the slowest releases in the NFL, and it continues to be his biggest weakness.

The latest chapter in fixing Tebow's poor throwing takes us to Southern California. Tebow has been working with passing guru Tom House at USC this week, reports Pedro Moura of

Tebow has worked with several throwing coaches, dating to 2010, when he entered the NFL draft. Tebow also had a quarterbacks coach during his two seasons with the Denver Broncos, and has one now that he's with the New York Jets. After plenty of work, Tebow's throwing motion still is not up to par.

I most recently watched Tebow throw during New York's mandatory minicamp last month, and there continued to be stretches of poor accuracy. One play that stood out most, during which Tebow pump-faked and tried to reload to throw. The pass seemingly took forever, and the defensive line was all over Tebow by the time the ball left his hands. It's hard to see that changing by New York's Week 1 game against the Buffalo Bills.

Tebow deserves to be applauded for the immense work he's put in this offseason. Physically, he looks to be in the best shape of his career as he competes with Jets starter Mark Sanchez. Tebow's toughness, character and athleticism should make him an immediate contributor.

But you wonder if Tebow's throwing motion will ever change dramatically enough to where it is no longer a question. I haven't seen enough evidence for that to be the case.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The golf analogy quarterback Alex Smith drew Tuesday seemed appropriate amid new rules outlawing contact at NFL minicamps.

These days, a Tiger Woods fist pump packs more punch than the most fearsome defensive end.

"We're not playing tomorrow," Smith said as the San Francisco 49ers opened their mandatory camp for veterans, "so this is a great time to really get some work in, a little bit like the driving range. If you yank one left, it's not the end of the world. You can try some new things."

Football isn't golf, but it feels a little more like it this offseason. Prohibitions on contact leave fewer ways for players to work at improving. With the action on the field slowing down, the environment could be more conducive to working on mechanics.

"This is the time for me to pay close attention to that stuff," Smith said. "Come training camp and the season, when it gets competitive, I don't want to be thinking about it."

Smith has been transferring to the field some of the improvements pitching coach Tom House suggested during a week-long session with several quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, earlier this offseason.

Brady has long been one of the most fundamentally sound quarterbacks. New Orleans' Drew Brees, who has also worked with House, recommended the former major-league relief pitcher to Smith.

Maintaining some bend in Smith's left knee at delivery has been one point of emphasis, but Smith has become wise to the overplayed offseason storyline after living through several under a long list of departed coordinators.

Smith knows game situations force players to draw from instinct, not from what a pitching coach told them at a clinic six months earlier. The question for Smith becomes whether the improvements in mechanics can become second nature.

"When 300-pound guys are running at you, you just react and throw," Smith said. "Those are times when no one cares about the mechanics. I don't care who you are."

Smith was speaking before the 49ers held their practice session Tuesday afternoon. He and his teammates will be wearing helmets, but no pads, during sessions that might qualify as glorified walk-throughs.

"You can't be physical, so it's hard for the guys up front," Smith said. "Even outside, the corners and receivers used to getting press work, jam work, those guys getting physical outside, you don't get that right now. There are other areas of focus and that is where you direct your attention."




Sunday, 2/2