When the Oakland Raiders came into this season, quarterback Terrelle Pryor was an afterthought at starting quarterback. The team had just finished a trade for Matt Flynn, who was released yesterday, and it looked like it was his job to lose. Lost it he did after struggling through the preseason, but it was the play of Pryor that really stole the job.
Fast forward five games into the 2013 regular season and Pryor has the confidence of his teammates and coaches. That says tons about Pryor as a person. He has all the leadership and personal qualities that people are drawn too. His play this season has gotten better in each game. He has cut down on his turnovers and is throwing the ball more accurately. His development in the last year is a testament to his mental toughness, dedication, and perseverance.
From the preseason to week five of the regular season, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen talks about Pryor in an entirely different fashion. Before, he had doubts. You could tell he had some reservations and apprehensions about Pryor. As Pryor's play has evolved, those doubts have been silenced. Pryor has earned his head coaches full confidence.
“I’ve been very impressed with the way Terrelle Pryor has played,” Allen said. “The one thing that you worry about a lot of the times with a young quarterback is critical mistakes. He made a couple critical mistakes early in the year, but he’s learned from it, and the last couple of times he’s been out there, he’s protected the football and not made the critical mistakes. Even with all of that, he’s been able to scramble and make the spectacular play and create with his feet and still get the ball down field. I think this kid is going to continue to improve; I think he’s probably leaps and bounds ahead of where we thought he would be at this point in time. The key for him is that he continues to work and continues to strive to get better on the little things, because he’s always going to have the elite athleticism; the ability to create, it’s now about the timing, the decision making, the accuracy and all of those things. He’s improved in those areas, and that’s where we hope to see him continue to improve in.”
Pryor has not turned the ball over in three games. He is completing more that 68 percent of his passes. His deep throws have improved greatly as well as his decision making. He has three touchdowns and zero interceptions in his last three games. He is 2-2 as the Oakland starter this season and if he was able to go against the Washington Redskins, it would be hard to believe the Raiders don't win that game.
Pryor is still a work in progress. He is by no means a finished product, but that's the great thing about the quarterback position. The evolution and development never ends. The way Pryor has progressed in such a short time gives the Raiders hope. He is making believers out of the league and his head coach is now leading that charge.
“He’s improved tremendously,” Allen said of Pryor. “When you go back and look at where he was at the end of last year in the San Diego game, and then compare that to the way he played last night, it’s night and day how the kid performs. So, he’s done a great job. I’m glad we have him. I’m glad he’s our quarterback, and he’ll continue to be our quarterback.”
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