- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter
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OAKLAND -- The thinking went like this and, really, never deviated, despite some cloak and dagger gamesmanship from Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen late in the week and conflicting reports: If Terrelle Pryor was healthy enough to suit up against the Washington Redskins, he would start under center. Otherwise, he would not play at all and be made inactive. There would be no shenanigans of starting Matt Flynn and then bringing in Pryor off the bench for some trickery.
Besides, it would be a good chance, the reasoning went, to see what Flynn and his $6.5-million salary had to offer against what had been a porous defense.
And with the less-mobile Flynn, Washington did not have to respect the Raiders quarterbacks’ running ability as it would with Pryor back there. Washington could simply pin its ears back and bull rush Flynn.
A 24-14 Washington victory later, the result was obvious.
“They’re completely different in the way they move back there in the pocket,” Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski said of Pryor and Flynn. “I think people probably rush them differently. We have to figure out what that looks like exactly. They definitely handle themselves back there differently. So we have to try to block differently.
“It’s tough to change at the drop of a hat, though. We found out last night we had a different quarterback so we have to adjust to that.”
Pryor, who suffered a concussion late in the Raiders’ loss at Denver on Monday night, was not cleared for full contact by the NFL’s concussion protocol until Friday. He also had to pass a team-mandated test on Saturday and thus, missed out on so much offensive installation throughout a shortened week.
Allen said he did not like what he saw Saturday.
“It just wasn’t the right thing to do and we wanted to make sure we did right by him,” Allen said. “With all the emphasis on head injuries or brain injuries, we wanted to use extreme caution in that situation and that’s what we did. I think we did the right thing by Terrelle Pryor by not playing him in this game.
“I just didn’t want to have any doubt in my mind at all that this kid was 100 percent. After visiting with the doctors, there was doubt in my mind and I wasn’t going to put him in harm’s way.”
Pryor was not in the locker room after the game, though he did run on the field in street clothes at one point -- dark shades still on his face -- to celebrate a fumble recovered by the Oakland defense.
So will Pryor be starting for the Raiders next week against San Diego before an adoring fan base in Oakland?
“I’m very hopeful,” Allen said. “We were right at the point where we were just about ready to say, ‘He’s got it.’ But we just didn’t feel comfortable going ahead and letting him play.”
And no, Allen was not ready to pull the plug on Flynn and insert undrafted rookie Matt McGloin on Sunday, either.
OAKLAND -- The thinking went like this and, really, never deviated, despite some cloak and dagger gamesmanship from Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen late in the week and conflicting reports: If Terrelle Pryor was healthy enough to suit up against the Washington Redskins, he would start under center.