Matt Flynn was a lock to be the Oakland Raiders starting quarterback. That is, until the Raiders played the Chicago Bears last Friday.
They took a 34-26 loss in a game that saw Matt Flynn lose his stranglehold on the starting quarterback position. Simply put, Flynn had a dismal day; one that he wishes he could forget, but, if he loses the starting job, will never be able to. He threw two interceptions on six passes and created nothing for the Oakland Raiders. Later in the game, competing quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin came in to lead touchdown drives. The case for the Raiders starting quarterback has now been reopened by Dennis Allen and the coaching staff.
Lets take a look at the prospects of each quarterback.
Good News: Flynn is the most NFL-proven quarterback on the Oakland Raiders. Of course, that isn’t saying much seeing as he has only started two games in his career, and one of them was very impressive. He threw for 480 yard and six touchdowns two seasons ago.
This shows that Flynn has the skills, or at least had the skills at one point in his career, to be a viable starting quarterback in the NFL. Flynn also played decently in his first two preseason games, especially when he was allowed time to pick out a good pass. He was clearly the best option at quarterback in the game against the New Orleans Saints, a game in which Terrelle Pryor had trouble throwing.
As the starter at the moment, he also goes against the opponents defensive first team in preseason games at least giving him an excuse as to why Pryor is producing more than he is.
Bad News: The fact remains that he isn’t producing scoring drives for the Oakland Raiders. You need to score in football to have a chance to win games and Matt Flynn has not been able to consistently get scoring drives going.
He has only led the Raiders to two scoring drives and ten points total in the three preseason games he has played. His inability to create scoring drives has forced the Raiders to wonder if he is the current answer at the starting quarterback position.
Good News: Terrelle Pryor’s electrifying play in the game against the Chicago Bears has forced the Raiders coaching staff to seriously consider him at starting quarterback. He made many key plays and led two touchdown drives in the third quarter.
Throughout the preseason, he has been able to produce many more points than Matt Flynn. In his ten drives this preseason, the Raiders offense has produced two touchdowns and four field goals, sixteen more points than what Flynn has been able to create.
More good news for Pryor: he can run. He has made big plays with his legs so far in the preseason, including an impressive touchdown run against the Bears. With the Raiders offensive line in bad shape at the moment, a scrambling quarterback could be really helpful to the offense. Terrelle Pryor has too much athleticism for the Raiders to ignore. He has a strong arm as well, which he has shown off this preseason. Pryor has all the physical tools to a successful NFL quarterback and has the support of Raiders fans, something that cannot be overlooked.
Bad News: Pryor hasn’t proven that he can be successful in the NFL. Even this preseason he hasn’t proven that he can be effective against starting defensive units. Almost all the snaps he has taken have been against backups.
Playing against the starting unit of a defense could really challenge Pryor. Athletic defenses can match up with his athleticism, taking away his best attribute. He may not have the pure quarterbacking skills to handle a defensive game plan which takes away his legs either. These issues with Terrelle Pryor may not be ones that the coaching staff will overlook.
Good News: There is a tiny fraction of a chance he wins the starting job. He didn’t play badly against the Chicago Bears and threw a touchdown pass. He played better than Matt Flynn, although worse than Terrelle Pryor.
I can see McGloin getting the starting spot if Pryor gets injured, which is quite possible given his running ways, and if Matt Flynn gets booed off the field by upset Raiders fans in a terrible performance. McGloin will not win the staring job right away, but if the pieces fall in his favor, he could end up under center for the Oakland Raiders.
Bad News: There is essentially no chance that he wins the starting job outright. Both Terrelle Pryor and Matt Flynn are better quarterbacks than he is. He hasn’t played particularly well in the preseason, not enough to be a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. The coaching staff is clearly looking at Pryor and Flynn more closely. Realistically, he doesn’t have a shot to be the starter.
Due to his preseason success, I see Terrelle Pryor ending up as the Oakland Raiders’ starting quarterback in week one. He has played better than Matt Flynn in the preseason, he has all the physical tools, he has a positive future, and he has the support of the Raiders fan base.
Additionally, he is the only Raider quarterback that can be successful behind their porous offensive line. Head coach Dennis Allen stated that he would pick the quarterback that would give the offense the best chance to score. Right now, that quarterback looks like Terrelle Pryor.