Commentary The Oakland Raiders are going into the 2013-2014 season with a lot of uncertainty. Will DJ Hayden be able to stay healthy for the entire season, can the offensive line protect the quarterback, are Denarius Moore and Darren McFadden going to return to form, is the defense going to be any good? With all the question marks surrounding the Raiders plus the Broncos looking strong in their debut and the Chargers still having Philip Rivers, the best Oakland can hope for this year is 3rd in their division. Which will not be good enough to make the playoffs once again. This puts the Raiders in a unique situation for the upcoming season, without the pressure of expectations from Ownership or their fans they can play their unproven quarterback Terrelle Pryor all season to see if they have their quarterback of the future or if they still need one. These are the five reasons why starting Pryor is a win- win for the Raiders Organization and their fans.
1. Keeping up with the times
For years the Oakland Raiders have been a team that has done things the old fashioned way. Man-to- man defense, relying on the vertical passing game to move the ball, and struggling with zone blocking schemes. In the off season they spent money on Matt Flynn, a traditional drop back passer. However, as we see more and more in the NFL, teams are having great success with mobile quarterbacks; this seems to be the way the NFL is going and in Pryor the Raiders have a young athletic QB that will allow them to keep up with the Jones’.
2. The offensive line
The offensive line for the Raiders leaves a lot to be desired. They were already thin before they lost Jared Veldheer for almost half of the season, now they have to play musical chairs on the o-line. Matt Flynn would have been a sitting duck in the pocket, with limited mobility teams would have blitzed the Raiders relentlessly. Pryor’s running ability negates some of that, plus when the pocket breaks down which it will a lot this season his play making ability will at times keep the chains moving for Oakland.
3. Will the defense be able to make stops
The Raiders have a lot of holes on the defensive end of the ball, especially on the d-line and in the secondary. If they are not able to consistently stop teams they are going to have to keep up with them on the score board. Pryor’s legs and play-making ability give them a better chance of putting up points than Matt Flynn, who while being a more polished passer is also more a manager of the game. Though they may not be expected to win a lot of games this season, I am sure they at least want to be competitive.
4. He’s the man
If Pryor can have a break-out season and prove that he belongs in the NFL, the Raiders will finally have a young QB that the team and the fan base can rally around. Also, a player the Organization can build around. This is a big “if”, as he needs to continue to refine his passing ability. But if he shows he can lead this team, the Raiders can focus on other position needs in the draft next year. If Pryor has a great season, the Raiders will still likely not be a playoff team which means they will still draft fairly high and can fill needs on both the defensive and offensive line.
5. There is always next year
Here is where the win-win comes in. If Terrelle Pryor has a poor season and proves he is not the guy, this will most likely result in the Raiders having a top 2 draft pick. Where it stands right now, South Carolina’s DE Jadeveon Clowney and Louisville’s QB Teddy Bridgewater are one and two on mostly everyone’s list and the Raiders’ two biggest needs will be at defensive end and quarterback.
The Oakland Raiders are in rebuilding mode, so Terrelle Pryor’s season will let them know if it starts this season or next year’s NFL draft. Just win-win baby.