By Ross Jones, FOXSports.com
With Sunday’s news that Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor will get the start against the Seahawks in the team’s final preseason game, speculation has mounted that a good performance could vault him over Matt Flynn as the starting quarterback.
It might not be the safe decision, but Pryor gives the Raiders a more explosive option. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound 2011 supplemental draft pick out of Ohio State, has a natural, long stride and is more capable of making something out of nothing. The Raiders have a young crop of talent on the offensive side of the ball, but will struggle up front as their offensive line has sustained key injuries — Jared Veldheer with a torn triceps — this preseason.
Pryor can erase that. His mobility and ability to throw on the run adds other dimension and will put added stress on defenses.
The argument arose after Flynn did next to nothing in two quarters against the Bears on Friday night. Flynn was pulled in the second quarter after piloting three drives that finished as three-and-outs and throwing two interceptions in six pass attempts. He was replaced by Pryor, who gave the offense and home crowd a much-needed shot of adrenaline. See below:
“I think obviously we have to look at it,” head coach Dennis Allen said after the game. “I think when you look at it I don’t think Matt played well in this game. Obviously, I thought Terrelle came in and gave us a spark. I thought he played well in the game. I think that’s something that we have to go and look at it.
“I’m not going to make any decisions on anything, obviously, tonight. I want to get a chance to go back and look at the tape and see how things went. But it was obvious that Terrelle gave us a little bit of a spark tonight.”
It’s a decision that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is familiar with. We’re all aware of what happened in San Francisco last season. After Alex Smith went down with a concussion in Week 10, Colin Kaepernick took over and injected new life into the offense. The team never looked back and rode the fast-pace, option-oriented offense all the way to the Super Bowl.
Pryor isn’t Kaepernick, that’s for sure. He has the raw type of intangibles that make Kaepernick special, but lacks efficiency and accuracy. It’s a boom or bust situation. Go all in on Pryor and reap the rewards of a gifted athlete at your most important position or see what you have in Flynn, who hasn’t been much more than a competent backup QB in his six-year career.
There’s no doubt Pryor would excite the fanbase, but the Raiders’ new regime is about making logical decisions and planning for the future. Although it’s a win-now league, the Raiders have invested in Flynn and it wouldn’t do them any favors by not giving him an opportunity in the regular season.
Pryor reportedly took first-team snaps at practice on Sunday, but don’t look too much into it as Flynn was resting with elbow tendonitis.
Flynn is all too familiar with the stress that comes along in a QB competition as he lost his presumed starting role in Seattle last preseason to rookie Russell Wilson.