With the 2013 NFL season scheduled to get underway this week, the Oakland Raiders have, reportedly, settled on a starting quarterback. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Terrelle Pryor has won the job.
Pryor competed with Matt Flynn in the preseason. Flynn appeared to enter training camp as the heavy favorite to get the starting nod. A few poor performances in Oakland’s final exhibition games, though, allowed Pryor to step up and take hold of the position.
Just over a year ago, Flynn was one of the hottest free agent quarterback commodities. He signed a $26 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks in the 2012 offseason, but failed to beat out rookie Russell Wilson for the starting job. In April, the Raiders acquired him for a fifth-round and a conditional draft pick. Now, he’ll serves as a backup for his third team in three years.
Head coach Dennis Allen and the rest of the Oakland organization may be taking a risk by choosing Pryor. Flynn has three more years of NFL experience and showed flashes of brilliance in 2011 when he had a 124.8 passer rating in nine games. Pryor has just 30 career pass attempts with a 70.8 rating.
Considering how Flynn fared in his final two preseason games, though, it’s understandable why the Raiders aren’t putting that much stock into the two players’ experience. In Week Two, he had trouble avoiding pressure behind a shaky offensive line, getting sacked five times. In the following week, his nine drop backs included two interceptions and one sack.
It may be a longshot for Pryor to help the Raiders become a winning team. In two of his four preseason games, he combined to complete just four of 13 pass attempts for 40 yards. However, he did look like a competent quarterback at times, and was able to move the ball on the ground. In the preseason, he picked up 131 rushing yards on 14 attempts. His ability to avoid pressure may be what put him over the edge and earned him the starting quarterback job.
Matt McGloin hasn’t been considered as a serious contender to win the job by many experts, but the undrafted free agent could eventually see time on the field. Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News believes McGloin could surpass Flynn as the team’s top option if Pryor falters.
The Raiders and Pryor will be tested right away. On Sunday, they’ll open the season with a visit to the Indianapolis Colts. With games against the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins in Weeks Three and Four, Oakland will face three playoff teams in their first four games.
No matter who the Raiders put under center, it would be hard for them to have any success. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars have worse odds to win the Super Bowl.