Terrelle Pryor hasn’t had much criticism in an excellent season. After beating out Matt Flynn in the final week of the preseason, Pryor has shown significant growth in each and every game. He may have tried a bit too hard in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs game, but Oakland Raiders fans can’t be mad at a player for trying too hard to win. For the first three quarters, Pryor went toe-to-toe with the league’s best defense and held his own. Pryor has routinely made something out of nothing and has overcome a lot of his offensive line woes.
However, Pryor’s inexperience has shown through in a number of instances, none more obvious than pre-snap adjustments and getting the team to the line quickly. Early in the preseason, Pryor struggled to call plays quickly and was often calling the play with two or one seconds in a rushed manner. He has been a bit better about this, but a difficult road game in Kansas City exposed his inexperience with three delay of game penalties and a few more that were avoided by burning timeouts.
Pryor’s mastery of pre-snap reads and adjustments is a step that many quarterbacks aren’t typically able to do, at least at an NFL-quality level. Historically, Pryor has had trouble reading defenses, but he has taken a huge leap forward in his decision making in 2013. Even after a bye week, Pryor is still tenth in the league in completion percentage and thirteenth in the league in yards per attempt, a good indicator of quick and accurate decisions.
Pryor has done well, improvising his way out of many difficult situations, but his game would be taken to another level if he was getting the plays called with twenty seconds left on the play clock, rather than two. If he can get the play called quicker and get the team lined up, Pryor would have even more time to plan against the defense and adjust protection. This will help the team get more plays off, and as a result, more points. The Raiders may have had a succesful offense before the bye, but Pryor is 28th in the NFL in passing yards per game and is leading a Raiders offense that averages just 17.5 points per game (29th, ahead of only Houston, Jacksonville, and Tampa Bay).
The likely return of Wisniewski this week will help with adjusted protection and coverage of Pryor, but it is up to the quarterback to do everything in his power to keep the offense alive. He has exceeded expectations so far, but Pryor must continue to develop if he wants to prove to McKenzie and Allen that he is a franchise quarterback.