Every time quarterback Terrelle Pryor takes the field, the improvement is apparent. He has been working hard to grasp all the facets it takes to be an NFL signal caller and it's beginning to show. While the coaching staff is firmly behind Matt Flynn as the starter, Pryor's play leaves viewers intrigued.
Entering his third season, Pryor only has one NFL start. This year is the first he earned the opportunity to receive the necessary reps in training camp to progress. Last preseason he exploded against the Lions with 137 passing yards, 90 rushing yards and three touchdowns. It was a sin the Raiders offensive staff did not mix him into the offense last season as the losses built. It appears they will not make the same mistake this year.
New offensive coordinator Greg Olson has benefited Pryor. In the Raiders' first preseason game, Pryor entered the game with packages and plays specifically designed for his skill set. Three read option plays were executed by Pryor and that speaks volumes about the change in confidence towards him. Last season they were reluctant to put him in the game, now they are building offensive sets around him.
Flynn did nothing to lose or relinquish the starting job against the Cowboys. He is just as much as an unknown as Pryor, but both have potential. Flynn played two series, completing four consecutive passes at one point and leading the team on a scoring drive of 49 yards. He had an unfortunate missed blocking assignment that led to him getting blasted and losing a fumble. As he plays more in the preseason, it will become clear where he is as a quarterback. Even with Flynn doing fine, Pryor stole the show.
Pryor is an electric athlete. He runs extremely well and his built to take and deliver punishment. He played the entire second quarter in the first preseason game and showed well. His only mistake was gigantic and inexcusable, but it's part of the development process. After driving the Raiders 84 yards to the Dallas six yard line, Pryor rolled out, had an opportunity to run for a first down, threw back across his body into heavy traffic for an interception. It was a cardinal sin for a quarterback, but doesn't discount all the good play he made. It was obvious Pryor is trying to shed the image of being just a running quarterback because he threw twice when he had running lanes. If he can find that balance, it will be very dangerous combination.
He finished 6-10 passing for 88 yards and rushed three times for 31 yards. He is the definition for a dual threat quarterback. He is not a polished passer yet, but has very good arm strength as well as improved accuracy and delivery. Pryor is a nightmare for opposing defenses to contain. The most important part of the evening for Pryor was how he responded after the interception. With only 41 seconds remaining in the half, Pryor drove the Raiders 54 yards for a Sebastian Janikowski field goal.
Pryor isn't a finished product at quarterback. He needs game experience in order to reach his potential. He will continue to grow as he gets more reps and plays more games. He already has shown vast improvement in a short time. The Raiders see Pryor as a strength now and should mix him into the offense more. Whether he starts or comes of the bench and runs the offense catered to him, it's very intriguing. He passes the eye to test this point.
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