Oakland Raider Preseason Week 4: Terrelle Pryor has Something to prove.
Jimmy Hal – Aug 30, 2012
The Oakland Raiders are now on the cusp of the 2012 regular season with one last preseason game left against the Seattle Seahawks. There are plenty of storylines to watch play out as the Raiders try and fine tune the kinks in their game.
Can David Ausberry give Brandon Myers some competition for the starting tight end spot? Who will win the fourth defensive tackle spot Jamie Cumbie or Christo Bilukidi? Can Travionte Session be more consistent and do enough to at least stick around on the practice squad?
All of those questions and more will be answered on the field tonight.
But all of them will play second best to the number one story of week four of the preseason for the Raiders: Can Terrelle Pryor back up his performance of week three?
Yes, that is what everyone will be looking forward to. As long as Carson Palmer keeps throwing interceptions and Matt Leinart keeps checking down to his tight ends and running backs for five yard completions, Pryor is going to have an opportunity to impress even if it is against a third team defense, and impress he should.
That is not to say Pryor is guaranteed to have a big game versus the Seahawks, consistency has always been his achilles heel. But this is Pryor's last chance to make a first impression. Pryor put the coaching staff on notice that his progression is going in the right direction.
Now is the time to make beleivers of the coaching staff.
Pryor's naysayers are quick to point out that he only threw the ball five times against the Detroit Lions. To be fair, that is a solid argument. It is hard to make a case that a quarterback is improving with just five pass attempts. But when you break down the five passes it is hard not to see improvement when three completions go for twenty yards or more and the two incompletions hit the receivers in the hands.
It is easy to say it was the receivers making big plays after the catch, but the west coast offense is meant for receivers to have lots of yards after the catch. As some of Pryor's fanatics would describe his performance as great or superb, I would merely describe it as execution.
Pryor is still a work in progress; progress being the key word.
Trying to prove he is a starting quarterback should not be Pryor's intent versus the Seahawks. Pryor just needs to prove that he is ready to be taken seriously as a quarterback option. For those who believe the battle for the number two quarterback is locked up by Leinart, that is far from the truth. The battle will go likely all season long, especially if Pryor has a good game tonight.
Why? Let's think about it.
Though most media and even some fans don't believe Pryor is ready to be a starting quarterback, they do encourage the Raiders to use Pryor's athletic abilities in special packages, probably in Wild-Cat formations, (which I think is the worst way to groom a quarterback). If the Raiders did decide to do that, Pryor would be the one getting more snaps in practice and more game action.
So who would really be the number two quarterback?
If Palmer were to play poorly throughout the season, fans won't be chanting for Leinart will they? If Palmer gets injured, and Leinart does get the call, can Leinart throw the deep ball the way Palmer and Pryor can? Leinart's completion percentage may be very good, but his pass yardage wouldn't likely be as impressive as the Raiders settle for field goals making their points per game average decline.
But this is not about bashing Leinart or praising Pryor. It is about showing that Pryor still has a chance to compete, which is what the NFL is all about. It is up to Pryor to prove he is not one to give up, and not one to be given up on.
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