Most NFL fans will casually brush aside the first pre-season game as a glorified practice game with no implications for their teams. For Oakland Raiders fans, this pre-season will be must watch TV. There is competition at every position, but the most intriguing thing to watch is how the young quarterbacks will play. There is not much of a question anymore on who the starting quarterback will be on week one, as Matt Flynn has locked that up. However, there are huge implications on who the backup quarterbacks will be.
Newly acquired Matt Flynn must have a solid start against the Cowboys, not necessarily for job security, but to silence his internal and external critics. Flynn was in the same situation last year with the Seattle Seahawks, when rookie phenom Russell Wilson outplayed Flynn for the starting job. Flynn must put those memories behind him and a good start will help him do that. The Raider nation is also hesitant to support Flynn, so a good outing will help him win support from the best fan base in the NFL.
Fan favorite Terrelle Pryor still has his fair share of supporters from the Raider nation that want him to be the starting quarterback. While Pryor has a minute chance of becoming the starter, this preseason will be huge for his career. It is no secret that the Raiders brass is not sold on Pryor’s future with the team, so Pryor can have a big preseason to prove them wrong or get other general managers infatuated with his raw ability. Not only will Pryor have to break those long runs that we are used to but he will also have to show that his throwing mechanics have improved. What makes the Pryor roster situation so interesting is that he might not hold the key to his future.
Fourth round pick Tyler Wilson looked like the steal of the draft after his great mini-camp, but his expectations have come back to earth after a terrible training camp. It was not that long ago that pundits were handing the starting job to Wilson, but now some are calling for his release. There is no realistic scenario that I can see a high value rookie quarterback getting cut because of a bad training camp, but if he stumbles he can effect Pryor’s place on the team. Wilson will be the fourth quarterback to play against the Cowboys, so he must have a solid performance to quiet the growing list of critics.
The scrappy Scranton kid Matt McGloin, has won praise from the coaching staff because of his fiery personality and confident play at training camp. While no one gave him a shot to make the Raiders roster, he has done what he does best, defied expectations. McGloin is the type of player that Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie love, but he still faces long odds of making the 53-man roster. If McGloin were to have a great showing against the Cowboys, he would further force McKenzie to show his hand on the quarterback situation. The only way McGloin is a member of the Oakland Raiders come September is if he plays flawless football, but even in this scenario he would be a practice squad player. The Raiders would have to trade Pryor in order for McGloin to make the 53 man roster. While Pryor might look better than Wilson right now, he would have more value to other teams because of his ability to run the read-option.
Get your popcorn ready Raider nation, because tomorrow’s game will be must watch TV.(For those of you in the Bay Area, the game will be tape delayed because it is blacked out because of a shady NFL rule on preseason games. So listen to the game on 95.7 and watch it at 10PM on NFL network).