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Who Should Start Sunday for the Raiders: Leinart or Pryor?


The Raiders have to make a choice of who to start against the Chargers—Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor.  Oakland is forced to go with a backup against the Chargers in San Diego Sunday because Carson Palmer suffered cracked ribs and a punctured lung in last week’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. Both have terrific potential, but lack peak performances on the NFL platform.

What will make one the starter and one the back up?

Dec 22, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Leinart (7) passes the ball in the second half. The Panthers defeated the Raiders 17-6 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Leinart has all the credentials you need to be a starter in the NFL. Oh wait, he was a starter for Arizona Cardinals from 2006 till 2009. With the Cardinals in four NFL seasons, he made a total of 17 starts, though shoulder injuries and a broken collar bone have derailed his career.

During his rookie season, he became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for over 400 yards in a game when he passed for 405 yards at Minnesota on 11/26/06. The previous league record belonged to Jake Plummer who threw for 388 yards against the New York Giants on 11/16/97. Leinart’s record has since been surpassed by Detroit’s Matthew Stafford (422 yards). Leinart has been in the NFL for seven years.

Terrelle Pryor has never started a NFL game and has only been in three games. He has thrown twice and completed one. At Ohio State he was a shinning star ready to shine on the NFL stage. At Ohio State,  he was on target, throwing 783 passes in his career and completing 477 of them for 6177 yards.  If that does not jog your memory, in his three years at the helm of the Buckeyes, he rushed for 2164 yards on 436 carries.Simply put,  scoring was his specialty, crossing the goal line 74 times.

The Raiders selected Pryor in the third round of the 2011 supplemental draft.

Dec 16, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sportson August 22, 2011,and the last pick Al Davis made in his tenure with the Raiders

On October 23, 2011, in a game against the Kansas City Pryor saw his first NFL action. He lined up at the wide receiver spot, motioned behind center and ran a quarterback sneak. The play was nullified due to a false start penalty on Pryor.

Pryor has moved up on the Raiders depth chart with the injury to Carson Palmer. It’s not inconceivable to think that he will be on the field for more than just a couple of snaps on Sunday.

Leinart is bound to be focused in this offense after a week of practice. The Raiders will stick to their philosophy and run the ball against the Chargers defense. Meaning, the ball will be in the air against a mediocre pass defense (235 yards per game, 18th in NFL), which should lead to Leinart starting on Sunday.

Of course, you realize this is a scientific wild guess. In the last week of the NFL’s regular season there will be several changes at the QB position, and some will be trying out to remain on the team or for other franchises to have a look.

Michael Vick, for example, will be on display for the Eagles, Mark Sanchez from the Jets will be displaying his talent for a different team next year. Brady Quinn with the Chiefs may be trying just to stay on the roster, Matt Cassel will backup Quinn-and most likely not return to K.C… Alex Smith for the 49ers is a backup and waiting for his pink-slip.  Finally, yet importantly; Tim Tebow will most definitely not return to the Jets. Instead, it looks like he will be heading to Jacksonville.

That’s why it’s the NFL ( Not For Long) league.

Oakland Raiders vs San Diego –Just win Baby!