Strapped with a play calling wristband and the determination to improve every day, Terrelle Pryor started tonight for the Oakland Raiders in their final preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. It has been a tumultuous preseason for the Raiders whose first team performances in the two previous games against the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears was nothing short of calamitous crap. But there was a bright spot when the substitutes took over and Pryor was a leading factor. Fast forward to tonight. While Matt Flynn sat on the bench with a tendonitis ailment in his right elbow and thoughts of being a benchwarmer once again swarming inside his head, Pryor took the reigns and looked average against a Seattle defense that was a tad tamer than their usual starting unit.
Pryor’s first series did end in a three and out but it was not a total disaster on his part. After handing off the ball to Rashad Jennings for little gain, Pryor was able to show his abilities in the next two plays. On a play action bootleg, Pryor barely avoided the rush in time to jump and throw a short gain to Tight End, Jeron Mastrud. Mastrud had great ability to bring the pass down with one, outstretched, hand. But Mastrud’s technique on that play failed him in the next. In the gun, Pryor stood confidently, knowing that the pressure was bearing down on the young Quarterback, he saw Mastrud and gunned the ball right to his chest. Mastrud failed to haul it in amid considerable pressure.
The second outing for Pryor was much more fruitful. In this drive, Pryor was able to march down the field and show some of the dynamic, galloping runs, Raiders fans have become excited about when Pryor has the ball in his hands.
He started with a play action and found Rod Streater on a hook route. His release was quick and the execution on that play was assured. After a running play up the middle, Pryor took control on the next play, rolling out to the right and connecting with Streater again. If he starts for the Raiders, a Pryor –Streater relationship looks likely and, dare I say, promising.
From here, Pryor starting to show his energetic youth, both the good and the bad.
He attempted to give it to Moore on a fade route but misjudged the press coverage in an incompletion. But on the ensuing play, he saw the line and broke out in a scramble for 25 yards. Pryor’s long strides propelled him pass the safety and into Seattle’s 20 yard line. Unfortunately, Pryor followed up with a terrible throw off his back foot, a move that highlighted his need to remain patient and careful with the pigskin in his palms. What followed was a solid back shoulder throw to Denarius Moore, which sadly resulted in a drop. Then after lining up in the bunch formation, Pryor got swarmed and taken to the ground. A field goal followed and Pryor went back with a mix bag kind of drive.
And that was rather good, because when he came back in on the next series, Pryor immediately threw a preventable interception. He went deep to Jacoby Ford but the long bomb was unleashed too late. In addition to being under thrown. Mix it all up and Seattle’s Walter Thurmond walked away with the pick.
Pryor would get a shot at redemption before the half but the conclusion was rather tepid. Yes he did complete another play action roll out to the left for a first down, but his pocket failed thereafter and came face to face with the potent brutality of Bruce Irvin.
Tonight’s performance, which was only a half, wasn’t exactly glowing for Pyror but it was not terrible either. He showed some of his known talents, but still has plenty to learn in terms of timing and patience. And I believe that he will get more opportunities to learn and practice that patience when he starts the regular season. Raider fans will just need to reciprocate those virtues as well, because as this preseason has showed us, this could be a long season for the silver and black.