With quarterback Carson Palmer out for the season finale this Sunday in San Diego, Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor are battling it out to fill in on the last game of the season.
Pryor, who was the third-stringer for much of the season, has only been active for games this month. However, many fans are interested in seeing what the young, mobile quarterback can do under center. Pryor has seen action in just two games, completing one pass on two attempts. Earlier this week, reports circulated that head coach Dennis Allen was leaning towards Pryor to be his starter in San Diego.
However, Leinart is a former Heisman trophy winner with USC, and certainly has the credentials to get the opportunity. He backed up Matt Schaub at Houston last season before signing a deal with Oakland to spell Palmer. He has completed 16 passes on 32 attempts for 115 yards, filling in for Palmer after he got hurt last week in Carolina.
Today, Leinart made his case to start:
I think I deserve to play, I deserve to start, not sure what’s going to happen, but that’s all you can do — just keep preparing, keep working hard, be here, be accountable and whatever happens, whatever decision is made, that’s what’s made. If they want to start Terrelle and evaluate him and see what he can do, then I’ll support that and I’ll help him this week and help him during the game. But if they make me the starter and stuff, I’m just going to go out there and try to capitalize on that opportunity.
At this point, it would be logical for Allen to give the nod to Pryor. Over the course of his career with three different teams, Leinart has proven that he is a backup quarterback, and nothing more. Meanwhile, Pryor’s potential has been one of the few bright spots for the Raiders this season, and making him the starter for this one game will give him the opportunity to prove that he can be a successful quarterback in this league.
Across the bay in San Francisco, we saw young Colin Kaepernick replace the veteran Alex Smith as the starting quarterback. If Pryor starts and does well, we might see yet another case of quarterback controversy in the Bay Area, this time in Oakland.