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Oakland Raiders: How Terrelle Pryor Outplayed Matt Flynn While Throwing For Nine Yards

Aug 16, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Raiders 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It would be an insult to the word awful to say Matt Flynn and the Oakland Raiders first-team offense looked awful during a 28-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Friday night at the Superdome in Louisiana.

Yet, people are already characterizing Flynn’s absolutely atrocious first half performance as heroic simply because he walked off the field after five sacks without injury, but he also walked off without helping his team by calling audibles, switching protections, being aware of the rush, scrambling or throwing incompletions.

The truth is, Terrelle Pryor’s four incompletions and 9 yards passing were far more encouraging than anything Flynn did.

Statistics don’t lie, it’s the interpretation of statistics that can take us to the dark side, and believe me the following statistics need William Wallace type leadership to find freedom:

Matt Flynn         12-16, 124 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT 117.7 qb rating

Terrelle Pryor        1-5       9 yards,  0 TD, 0 INT,  39.6 qb rating

Matt McGloin       4-7     32 yards,  0 TD, 1 INT,  29.2 qb rating

Flynn was sacked five times in two quarters; Pryor and McGloin each took one sack in their 15 minutes of work. Plus-minus for points scored under each QB : Flynn -16 (7-23), Pryor +10 (10-0), and McGloin -2 (3-5).

But it was Flynn who was painfully bad, a deer in the headlights exhibiting no leadership, spark, grit or solutions. Many are already blaming Flynn’s entire performance on his porous offensive line, but guess what, this is the kind of protection Raider quarterbacks are going to have all season.

Gene Upshaw and Art Shell aren’t walking through that door, and without a healthy Jared Veldheer, its open season on Raider QB’s in 2013. With nine new starters on defense, the Raider offense must score to stay in games. So whoever starts at QB has to realize punting is not the answer, be unafraid of taking risks, and be able to make plays while running for his life.

Does that sound like Matt Flynn?

Flynn’s accuracy was nonexistent for 27 minutes, with each sack he became more skittish, and his only real play of the first half came on a poor decision, an inaccurate throw caught by David Ausberry for 24 yards in triple coverage. Flynn blew an easy touchdown with all day to throw off play-action, missing a receiver all by his lonesome 40 yards downfield.

Aug 16, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn (15) reacts after being knocked down against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Flynn finally made a couple nice throws during an 11 play, 82-yard touchdown drive that is being given far too much credit, and it came against a vanilla Saint defense, one content with a 23 point blowout with starters vs. starters.

Before that drive, Flynn completed only one pass longer than 7 yards, and led the Oakland offense to just 48 paltry total yards.

Raider coach Dennis Allen summed up the first half like so. “We didn’t play well in any of the phases of the game”.

Amen to that.

Terrelle Pryor opened the second half with some positive runs before a false start brought up 3rd and 6, one of many plays demonstrating Pryor was more assertive with his audibles and protections than Flynn.

Pryor recognized the blitz, hurried an audible, got his receivers in position, calmly beat the play-clock without wasting a timeout, and then outran a blitzing defender he’d been eyeing for a first down.

Pryor’s first incompletion was one of his most impressive throws as a Raider. On 3rd and 11, Pryor waited for the play to develop in the pocket, eyes downfield as a defender was making contact with his legs, and instead of searching for a quick dump off with his team down three scores, Pryor tried to make a play. Pryor failed in his efforts, but only after dropping a beautiful toss to the sideline that Brice Butler couldn’t quite corral.

Terrelle is learning the delicate balance between aggressiveness and poor decisions, but one thing you won’t ever see him do is roll around on the ground in the fetal position while praying his defense will outscore Drew Brees — paging Matt Flynn.

Aug 16, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) runs against the New Orleans Saints during the second half of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Raiders 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

To be clear, the Saints defense defended the read-option well, and Pryor wasn’t that impressive, unless you compare him to Matt Flynn. But if you’re not seeing Pryor’s progress then you should pay closer attention. Pryor also made two very decisive plays at the Saints’ goal line that Matt Flynn doesn’t even have the option to attempt.

People will tell you this first play was a mistake, they’re wrong.

A botched snap on second down at the Saints’ 7-yard line saw Pryor collect the ball, look downfield, find a receiver, and then decide better of it while under pressure, so he tried to get it out of bounds. Pryor’s throw was almost intercepted, but he worked very hard to get that incompletion so the offense had 3rd down at the 7-yard line, instead of ten yards back.

The 24-year-old Pryor’s process of decision-making was sound, he needs more reps to give him the judgment to know when his athleticism should be trusted, but taking the sack is not the right play here, especially for a dual-threat QB. The value of risking the throw to avoid a sack became clear on the very next play.

On third down Pryor again created something out of nothing by scrambling into the end zone with no one open, a run that would’ve been nearly impossible if he’d taken the sack. A questionable holding call that didn’t affect his run can’t negate the fact Pryor’s efforts should’ve been rewarded with four extra points, and the recognition that he had the guts to make the right decision on the incompletion, even after his awful interception in the end zone a week ago.

Pryor’s only completion made his run to pay dirt possible. On 3rd and 6 from the Saints’ 17-yard line Pryor threw a 9-yard pass that gave the Raiders 1st and goal inside the 10. Flynn threw for only one first down in his first 27 minutes behind center, and that was his ill-advised 24-yarder into triple coverage.

It was disappointing to see Pryor not get the opportunity to start the fourth quarter so he could attempt more than five passes, but it seems like the coaching staff is determined to ignore the abundant evidence that Flynn has always been destined for one position, backup quarterback.

Unfortunately for the Raiders and their fans, on opening day at Indianapolis, they’re going to need a starter.

 

 

Topics: Featured Popular, Matt Flynn, Oakland Raiders, Terrelle Pryor

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  • RaiderRo

    Great article. I agree 100%

    • Samuel Charles

      I disagree.

      Sam

  • Phyllis Lynn

    LOL -oh wait , you are serious. No the line won’t be that porous all season long. That was a line that hadn’t had time to play together, and let’s be honest, the team was ill prepared for the onslaught of the blitzing packages, and w did NOTHING< (ie run a no huddle) to prevent them from swapping personnel in and out. Pryor was not facing a first squad defense, either , was he? yeah the defense was still agqressive, but the drop off between the 1st and send string d for the Saints is amazing, Where as we had 2nd string playing against first string when Flynn was under center, squaring off against first string. Ugly. But to try to diminish what Flynn did and build up Pryor is irresponsible. For all of Flynn's alleged inaccuracy – he completed 75% of his passes. Pryor completed 20% of his passes, and had one damn near picked because it was such a horrible decision. That was after missing a snap because he was looking for the ball. Then there was the genius that was the audible which he was lucky to have gotten off without a delay of game. And you think Pryor out played Flynn? Am glad you are NOT in charge of making decisions for the Raiders.

    • rjperez

      Flynn played a whole half. Pryor played a quarter.

      • raiders4life

        Ya he only played one quarter but he still only made one pass completion. even when the raider D gave him good field position he did nothing with it

        • Samuel Charles

          Pryor’s first snap of the game was a quck completion for four yards, but the Raiders took an offside penalty.

          On the series I referenced the Raiders started at the NO 21.

          Pryor’s only completion was a big one, it was a 9-yard pass on 3rd and 6 in the red zone (which i should’ve mentioned). Then the 2nd and goal from the 7 incompletion and then his td run that should’ve stood.

          Thanks for reading.

  • Christopher T Eaton

    This article is stupid period. After 5 sacks ( 4 of those from guys running untouched ), Dropped balls and no protection . You want to blame Flynn , then say that adding Jared will make everything better on the line ? Also adding that Pryor played better and has more promise . I will make it simple for you. First year for Qb with coaches .. O line just put together .. #1 WR not established. New scheme . Ohh and its the second game of preseason. Calm yourself down and give this offense and team some time to gel .

    • rjperez

      The article is totally accurate, Flynn did not play well. He made poor decisions, and his passes we not even close at times. His little forward pitch to which player I cant remember was a set up disaster had he connected. I do agree he did not get the protection he needed but that does not dismiss the decisions he was making. Pryor did have much more poise and control of his passes & decisions.

      • raiders4life

        Poise? How he was running around and only completed 1 pass….ya so poised

  • DF Rellom

    Matt Flynn just seems predictable… we’ll see as the season goes. I’m rootin for Pryor but he just needs more time playing. Defenses are getting faster and faster…. qb should be able to run quick on their feet when necessary, not jog like old men…

  • rjperez

    All I know is that the entire first half of the game with Flynn at the helm, I felt there was no hope for the Raiders. It was until Pryor came in that I saw a spark of hope. It definitely was a much more exciting game the second half and before you all start saying that it was after the 1st stringers sat down, I know that. I just personally feel now after TWO preseason games that Pryor is the better passer and decision maker and before the season I would have not said that. I was totally on board with Flynn.

  • Phil Mokate

    Pryor has a big arm, play making ability, speed and a defensive threat! what does Flynn have? A good 20yd passing arm and folds like a lawn chair under pressure. sounds like a competition to me You dumb ass DA!

  • RdrFusion

    They should start Pryor against Chicago and let him play the whole first half!

  • Josh Carley

    Horrible article. We look absolutely horrible in ever aspect of game. And starts with gm and dennis Allen. McFadden is soft no vision. We’d be play off and Super Bowl contenders with hue and Palmer. Pryor is not the answer no running qb ever won a Super Bowl. That’s a fact. Hopefully we suck fired dennis and hire Heiden go chucky.

    • Samuel Charles

      Hey Josh,

      I’m not comparing Pryor to these players, but they won a whole lot of Super Bowls.

      Roger Staubach played in four SB’s, won two.

      “Landry raved about him, even as the two butted heads over Staubach’s propensity to scramble out of the pocket. He was known as “Roger the Dodger” for his scrambling abilities.”

      John Elway played in four SB’s, won two, and ran for 3,400 yards and 33 td’s in his career.

      Steve Young won a SB, and ran for 4,200 yards and 43 td’s.

      Mobility was a big part of Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana’s games, and they both won four SB’s.

      I’ll try and write something better next time.

      Thanks for reading.

      Sam

  • Josh Carley

    Gruden not Heiden

  • Scoobz

    All I know is Flynn couldn’t escape the pressure if his life depended on it which led to a very boring first half with the exception of the TD going against a D with a 23 point lead and he looked like he had a noodle arm. When Pryor came in not only was he able to escape the rush but with enough time someone is going to get open. I know the stats wasn’t great but the kid was just that much more exciting to watch. Russell Wilson took the job from Flynn not on his size or his potential but it was his ability to extend the play and that’s exactly what Pryor gives is. A fighting chance with a horrible o line. Pete carol had the balls to pull the trigger lets just hope D Allen has a pair and let’s the guy show the nation what he can do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.schroeder.161 Chris Schroeder

    It’s wasn’t Flynns fault that the O line was missing veldeer and they couldnt protect his blindside. If we were watching the same game you wouldn’t be so quick to jump to these conclusions. Once Flynn figured out he wasn’t getting the protection he needed he adjusted and drove down field for a touchdown. That was a remarkable drive considering the amount of pressure he was under and have been under the whole first half.

    Flynns ability to make these adjustments and adapt to his situation are what makes him the leader in this offense. Bias article dude, seriously! I’m sure all the Pryor fanatics are enjoying you pin this on Flynn.

    • Samuel Charles

      Adjusted with three minutes left in the first half and his team down 23-0?

  • raiders4life

    Dude get off pryors nuts hes a good athlete but hes not better then flynn right now. The only reason he didnt get sacked as much is they stopped blitzing as much and he ran for his life he didnt audible

  • James K

    I’m a big supporter of Pryor.
    But we can’t compare who was better at QB until we have an Offensive Line that doesn’t look like so much soft butter.
    Lets see some executed passes and a real run game based on proper protection and then I will tell you who is our number 1 QB.
    Right now it looks like a Preseason plug-n-play scenario on the O-Line and we have not seen anyone on the front line that wants their job that much!

    • Scoobz

      That’s exactly why we have to play Pryor. He may or not be the better QB but with the horrible O line we are stuck with this year he might be our only hope. I actually hope they all out blitz Pryor so he can run right pass the D and that will open up the passing when they have to respect His running ability. I’m with you as part of this NATION!
      THE RAIDER NATION

  • Rodney Hungerferd

    I wish I had four hands, so I could give those titties 4 thumbs down!!

    Love the article, though. More incisive spot-on analysis from Samuel Charles, my favorite sports writer with 2 first names.

    • Samuel Charles

      Like you don’t know a hundred guys with the first name Hungerferd?

  • Rodney Hungerferd

    Sam Chuck, why can’t all the sporting press be as incisive as you>?