The foundation for good character always includes humility. After the Kansas City Chiefs defense destroyed Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland Raiders offense, humility will be in abundance with the young quarterback. Humility makes you respect your opponents more and humility names you work harder. In his four previous games, Pryor made fools of NFL defenders and in Week 6, NFL defenders taught him how great this league really is.
The bye week came at just the right time for the Raiders who are hobbled on offense, to put it mildly. Pryor is headed to southern California to work with quarterback guru Tom House during his bye week. After the display in Kansas City, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get back to fundamentals.
On Sunday, Pryor reverted to the Pryor of 2012 when his mechanics were very raw. On the first interception that he threw, Pryor just lobbed the ball up in the air just hoping someone would make a play; unfortunately, it was a Chiefs defender who did. Breaking down that play, you’ll notice the immense pressure right up the gut in his face, but what you may not have noticed is the mechanics involved in his throw. Pryor threw the ball off of his back foot and that caused the inaccurate ball to be tipped and picked off.
After about the fifth sack, Pryor’s mechanics went on a downhill slide just as the Raiders did. His throws became inaccurate as the pressure grew and eventually led to the loss of confidence that allowed 10 sacks and 3 interceptions. Bill Belichick has a saying that “more teams in this league lose games than teams that win games,” and after watching the game Sunday, it’s safe to say the Chiefs didn’t win the game, the Raiders lost the game. Until the fourth quarter, the Raiders defense kept them in the game, in the fourth quarter the offense had a melt down of epic proportions in a building where they had won six straight times.
The Chiefs figured out that Pryor leaves the pocket to his right and they held containment on the edge with Justin Houston. That caused Pryor to run into Tamba Hali on his left side. Many of the the mistakes resulted as a result of Pryor’s reluctance to their the ball away instead of taking sacks and throwing in tight spaces. Pryor has been very stubborn in not throwing the ball away. Part of that comes from inexperience and part of it comes from his confidence in his abilities, but he has to learn to live for another play. Consistently taking sacks and throwing interceptions will put the whole team, the play caller, and the quarterback in very difficult down and distance situations.
The offensive line was decimated with injuries, the run game wasn’t yielding much, the receivers weren’t beating their man off the snap, but Pryor has to make better decisions.
A good recipe for Pryor to bounce back will include the realization that he can’t beat every defender by himself and start making decisions that put the team in better situations on future plays and drives. There’s no need to become overly conservative in the play calling based on one bad game, there’s no need to overreact based on one bad game, and there’s no need to panic based on one bad game. Pryor has made the Raiders a legitimate threat to upset just about any team in the NFL, but in this “now” world, that is not good enough. Fans expect playoffs to consider a season successful and those expectations, created solely by Pryor’s huge leap, could also doom the young quarterback.
It is just as well that Pryor will be working out with his quarterback guru this week, working on his throwing mechanics will go a long way. Pryor needs to work on his footwork in the pocket, needs to work on his ball security, and most importantly needs to work on his progression on pass plays. Pryor has had a tendency to take off after the first read is covered. This may help the offensive line, but it kills the pass game.
The Raiders ran some read-option on Sunday and just like past weeks, Pryor made error after error on his read of the weak outside linebacker, Tamba Hali. The general rule in the read-option is if you see the numbers on the end(4-3) or OLB(3-4) then you hand the ball off to the back, if you don’t see the numbers (defender takes an inside stance), then you keep it.
Pryor has done this all year and frankly I would have thought this would be fixed by now. This adds to several other areas that the young quarterback needs to work on and get better.