The Oakland Raiders are going through their annual “struggle-a-thon.” It is of no surprise that another season had come down to this: Should the Raiders hand Terrelle Pryor the starting job after the debacle last weekend?
In a word, No!
Terrelle Pryor is not an NFL quarterback and never will be. He lacks the basic skills required of a quarterback in the “Not For Long” league. Pryor displays erratic behavior under pressure and completely forgets his fundamentals. His footwork goes out the window, his eyes focus on the pocket rather than his receivers downfield, his throwing motion reverts to his old habits, and he gets the constant itch to leave the pocket.
In the beginning of the season, when defenses weren’t clued in to his tendencies, he got away with all his shortcomings–but the game tape is the great neutralizer for defenses. The problems that existed for the Raider offense with Pryor was largely based on his lack of talent as a pocket passer. He held onto the ball too long and got sacked a lot, he locked onto his receivers and got his share of interceptions, he didn’t complete his progression and failed to find open receivers, he made the wrong reads in the read-option and ended drives prematurely, he couldn’t read the defense and often failed with allocating his blitz pickup, the list goes on.
While he did have some positives like energizing a team that was severely talent-deficient, he did not grow as a player. Therein, lay his pitfall. He maxed out. His ceiling as a legitimate NFL quarterback was reached. Defenses figured him out.
In contrast, Matt McGloin has played remarkably well for a rookie on a team devoid of playmakers. McGloin’s ceiling is far higher despite his physical limitations. With McGloin, the Raiders offense gained a dimension downfield. His 15 completions for 25+ yards, is a league high. McGloin is a better game manager, a better passer, and frankly overall a better quarterback.
With Pryor under center, the total team points average has been 18.1–under McGloin the team has averaged 25.8 points per game. There is no argument to be made to give Pryor anymore chances to worsen the deplorable state that this team finds itself in. Anyone suggesting Pryor can be the future for the Silver and Black, simply can’t be taken seriously.
At this point, the Raiders should be in the process of evaluating McGloin to see if he can fill the void left by Rich Gannon a decade ago. At this point, the Raiders should be trying to find out if they need to draft a quarterback with their first pick. At this point, the Raiders should be giving extensions to their coaching staff for milking out four wins out of such a lackluster squad. At this point, what the Raiders shouldn’t do is to let Pryor anywhere near a center.
My plea to Mark Davis: Please keep coach Allen. He’s the best the Raiders have had since Jon Gruden was forced out. Dennis Allen has changed the culture in the locker room and deserves the opportunity to finish his vision. The record doesn’t always reflect progress, but there is progress if you can see it.