Oakland Raiders: 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.
So, you already knew that the recently acquired Matt Schaub was earmarked to be the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback this season. And while neither Terrelle Pryor nor his fans should be happy about that development, what coach Dennis Allen told reporters Tuesday will perk up more than a few ears.

"We have a quarterback now," Allen said at the NFL owners meetings, per the Bay Area News Group, "that's on par with the quarterbacks in the division."

Got it?

Schaub = Kansas City's Alex Smith. Sure.

Schaub = San Diego's Philip Rivers. Meh.

Schaub = Denver's Peyton Manning. Um ...

If nothing else, Allen is a glass-half-full kind of guy. He has to be. After consecutive 4-12 seasons in which his teams folded spectacularly down the stretch both times, Allen knows this is a make-or-break type of year in which the Raiders need to show improvement.

And for the purposes of this discussion, it all begins under center ... with a new quarterback who is a two-time Pro Bowler coming off a nightmarish season. So what kind of quarterback does Allen prefer, exactly?

"Guys that can move the team down the field, guys who can put points on the board," Allen said. "I think there's certain qualities you look at in the quarterbacks that have been able to be successful over the years. I'm talking about guys like Drew Brees, who I was with [in New Orleans]. I'm talking about guys like Peyton Manning. I'm talking about guys like Tom Brady. Guys [whose] work ethic is unmatched; they're the first ones in the building, they're the last one to leave.

"They have the ability to process information quickly and they can throw the ball with timing and accuracy. And those are the things you have to be able to do to play the quarterback position."

And water is wet.

Of course, that's the goal of every team -- to find a franchise quarterback. It's been a tortuous journey for the Raiders the past three years as they've used first- and second-round picks (Carson Palmer), a third-round supplemental pick (Pryor), a fourth-round pick (Tyler Wilson) a fifth-round pick (Matt Flynn) and now a sixth-rounder (Schaub) in their search for a savior.

The new regime of Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie is responsible for the last three on the list.

"It's pretty obvious that we feel good about Matt Schaub as our starting quarterback," Allen said. "We feel comfortable with Matt McGloin as a back up. But we'll see what happens in the next few days, next couple weeks.

"Everybody has down seasons. Everybody has down years. It's not a shame to get knocked down; it's a shame to not get back up. [Schaub] is a guy that's been a two-time Pro Bowl player, he's been a top 10 quarterback in the National Football League over the last five years and we believe, and he believes, that he's still that. And I don't think that changes overnight, I really don't."

Schaub had a career-worst total quarterback rating of 43.65 last season, losing his starting job midway through the season and throwing 14 interceptions, including a stretch of four straight games with a pick-6, with 10 touchdowns and a 61.1 completion percentage rate.

"Do I think he's going to have a little bit of a chip on his shoulder? Yeah, I really do," Allen said. "I think there's going to be a little bit of added incentive for him to kind of prove what he can do? Yeah, I think there will be, and I think that's a good thing."
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 six 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.

Rookie glance: QB Matt McGloin

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
How acquired: Undrafted free agent

2013 season: Initialy a fourth-string training camp arm for the Oakland Raiders, the Penn State product worked his way up past fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson, expensive acquisition Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor to start six games, appearing in seven. McGloin’s skill set as more of a pure drop-back passer more closely resembled what the Raiders wanted to run on offense, and it showed ... early. McGloin’s first pass as an NFL starter went for a touchdown, and he threw eight touchdowns and was also intercepted eight times. McGloin threw for 1,547 yards on 55.9 percent passing, and had a passer rating of 76.1. His record as a starter was 1-5.

Looking ahead: While McGloin was replaced by Pryor for the season finale against the Denver Broncos, coach Dennis Allen said McGloin showed enough to have a future with the franchise. Now, does that mean he’s going to be the starter going forward? Not likely. In fact, Allen reiterated at the NFL combine that he was not sure next year’s starter was on the roster at this time. For the Raiders to truly upgrade the position, you’d probably see an established veteran starting with McGloin either the backup or No. 3 quarterback.

The Raiders’ other 2013 rookies that finished the season on the roster: WR Brice Butler, DT Stacy McGee, TE Mychal Rivera, RB Latavius Murray, TE Nick Kasa, LB Sio Moore, OT Menelik Watson, CB D.J. Hayden, DE Ryan Robinson, CB Chance Casey, S Shelton Johnson, WR Greg Jenkins and OG Lamar Mady.

A look at Raiders' top cap figures

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
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. -- We continue our chronological journey through the Plays That Defined The Oakland Raiders' season and we go to Game 10 for Play No. 8, and what appeared to be a promising new start for the Raiders.

Nov. 17, at Houston Texans, Matt McGloin throws a touchdown on his first pass attempt as the Raiders' starting quarterback.

McGloin began his professional career as a mere training camp arm, the Raiders' fourth-string quarterback. The undrafted rookie from Penn State overtook fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson in camp and moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart after Matt Flynn flamed out in his one start.

Then, after Terrelle Pryor sprained the MCL in his right knee at the New York Giants, McGloin became the starter and would make his debut as such against the Texans.

The Raiders defense set him up nicely as a Phillip Adams fumble recovery and return set Oakland up at the Houston 16-yard line. Five straight run plays had the Raiders facing a 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line.

Taking the snap out of the shotgun formation, and with three receivers lined up on the right side, McGloin took a few more steps back before setting and firing to Denarius Moore. Lined up on the far right, Moore ran a pseudo slant route and caught the ball at about the 2-yard line in stride and scored unimpeded.

The accuracy and speed on McGloin's pass was eye-opening and when he hit Rod Streater with another bullet two series later, this TD was from 16 yards out, the Raiders had a 14-0 lead and McGloin was on fire (thanks, in part, to the defense setting him up twice at the Texans' 16-yard line).

Because even after the Raiders fell behind 17-14, McGloin responded again, this time with a 26-yard TD strike to Mychal Rivera.

The Raiders had to hold on for the 28-23 victory -- the Texans were at the Raiders' 2-yard line with less than 90 seconds to play -- and McGloin finished the day with a passer rating of 105.9 after completing 18 of 32 passes for 197 yards and those three TDs without an interception.

McGloin, who would keep the starting gig until the season finale, would cool off significantly, thoough. As would the Raiders, who would not win another game all season.

Check back Tuesday for Play No. 9.
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo will interview Thursday for the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator position, a league source has confirmed.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter first reported the news Tuesday afternoon.

DeFilippo, considered a young and bright offensive mind, is in his second tour of duty as the Raiders QB coach and was one of the first assistants on Dennis Allen’s staff to agree to a one-year contract extension this offseason.

In his first go-around in Oakland, from 2007 through 2008, DeFilippo had JaMarcus Russell before going to the New York Jets as their assistant QB coach in 2009 and helped tutor then-rookie Mark Sanchez as the Jets played in the AFC title game.

In 2010 and 2011, DeFilippo was the QB coach at San Jose State before returning to the Raiders as part of Allen’s first staff in 2012 and working with Carson Palmer.

This past season, DeFilippo, 35, helped to mold Terrelle Pryor and undrafted rookie Matt McGloin after veteran Matt Flynn washed out.

“All spring [Pryor] was very hesitant to run the football,” DeFilippo told ESPN.com after the Raiders’ season opener at the Indianapolis Colts. “He wanted to prove to everyone that he was going to be a pocket-passer guy, and that’s not his game. His game is bringing his God-given athletic ability to the field and to this football team and that’s what’s going to help this football team win a lot of games.”

DeFilippo was also a candidate for the head coaching job at his alma mater, James Madison, before it went to Ohio State assistant Everett Withers.

Others reportedly up for the Browns gig under coach Mike Pettine, who was also with the Jets when DeFilippo was there, are Kyle Shanahan and Matt Cavanaugh. If DeFilippo, who grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, leaves Oakland for Cleveland, it could be seen as a blow to the continuity Allen is trying to maintain as he approaches his critical third year in Oakland.
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- We're doing this list of 10 Plays That Defined The Oakland Raiders' Season in chronological order, and there is no set number of plays that could be viewed as negative or positive. But as we take a look at Play No. 5, which went down in Week 5, it was definitely one the Raiders will look upon fondly.

Oct. 6, vs. San Diego Chargers, Terrelle Pryor throws a 44-yard bomb to Rod Streater for a TD on Oakland's first offensive play from scrimmage.

Pryor's popularity was on the rise after missing the previous week's gut-wrenching loss to Washington with concussion symptoms. Matt Flynn had done nothing to endear himself to the Raiders fanbase in that loss and had actually been demoted to third-string behind Pryor and undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. In fact, Flynn would be released the next day.

But on this Sunday night at the O.co Coliseum, with an unprecedented-in-Oakland 8:35 p.m. kickoff due to a scheduling conflict with Major League Baseball's Athletics, who were playing the Detroit Tigers in a playoff series, the night belonged to the Raiders in general, Pryor in particular.

There's just a different vibe to a nationally-televised night game, especially a Raiders home game and when Usama Young intercepted Philip Rivers at the Oakland 30-yard line and returned it to the Chargers' 47 before fumbling and recovering at the 44, the buzz was palpable.

And then Pryor, who has long claimed he has a big arm, showed it off, along with some accuracy.

The Raiders' first play was a bomb down the right sideline, Pryor taking the snap from under center, dropping back and throwing from the dirt infield at about second base. Pryor's throw was true as Streater slowed a bit to leap and catch the ball at about the 3-yard line and beat Chargers cornerback Derek Cox before rolling into the end zone for the score and the quick 7-0 lead.

The quick-strike play was reminiscent of what Al Davis wanted his offenses to execute and the Raiders, behind the late Davis' final draft pick in Pryor, built a 24-3 lead late in the third quarter before holding on for the 27-17 victory to improve to 2-3 on the season.

On the night, Pryor threw for 221 yards on 18-of-23 passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a career-high passer rating of 135.7. He also carried the ball 11 times for 31 yards.

Pryor seemed to be on the rise and improving by the week.

Check back Thursday for Play No. 6...
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- When breaking down 10 Plays That Defined The Oakland Raiders’ Season, I decided to go in a chronological order, rather than try to assign a certain importance on said plays. But Play No. 4, which occurred in Week 3, definitely set the tone for the remainder of the season as far as the Raiders’ QB shuffle later in the year.

Sept. 23, at Denver, Terrelle Pryor suffers a concussion late in a blowout trying to run the ball in for a touchdown.

Let’s just say that not everyone in the Raiders’ front office was especially thrilled with how coach Dennis Allen managed things on the brightest regular season stage there is: "Monday Night Football."

First, after winning the coin toss, Allen elected to receive the kickoff, rather than defer, and put the relatively untested Pryor under center to start the game, against a rabid defense and a frothing fan base and, as I already mentioned, under the bright lights of "Monday Night Football."

Then, with only five seconds remaining in the first half and the Raiders at the 50-yard line, Allen did not give the strongest leg and highest-paid kicker in the game a shot at a record 68-yard field goal in a game the Raiders were already trailing 27-7.

And perhaps most damning, not only was Pryor still in the game with the score 37-14 midway through the fourth quarter and taking hits galore, his number was called to try and run the ball in from the Broncos’ 6-yard line on 2nd-and-goal. But he was met by Denver linebacker Wesley Woodyard and blasted on a helmet-to-helmet hit (legal because Pryor was outside the tackle box). Pryor went limp and the ball came loose, but he was ruled down, and Pryor stunningly was kept in the game to run two more plays, both of which were unsuccessful at getting in the end zone.

Pryor was ruled to have suffered a concussion on the play and was not on teh field the remainder of the game and the Raiders came under fire for how they handed the quarterback in the immediate aftermath of the Woodyard hit. The Raiders eventually fell to the Broncos, 37-21, and Allen took no chances with the NFL’s concussion protocol the following week.

The official story was that while Pryor had cleared the league’s test to be eligible to play, Allen did not like what he saw so he made him inactive against Washington…after Pryor requested the use of a tinted visor on his helmet (sensitivity to light is a side effect of a concussion).

In fact, Pryor was on the sidelines the next week rocking dark sunglasses and watching Matt Flynn, who had initially been acquired to be the franchise quarterback. But Flynn was so bad in a 24-14 loss to Washington that his time in Oakland was short. He was released a week and a day later.

How different, then, would the Raiders’ season have looked much later, when Pryor injured a knee and lost his job for a while to undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, if Flynn had not been pressed into action so soon and was still the primary backup, when the offensive line coalesced, so to speak?

Check back Tuesday for Play No. 5.
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.”