With Matt Leinart out because of an injured finger, Pryor replaced Carson Palmer to start the second half and made a string of highlight reel plays leading to three Raiders touchdowns. The first was a 17-yard run set up by a 59-yard scamper down the sideline and the second and third came on long passes to Juron Criner in the fourth quarter.
With Carson Palmer still getting used to life in Greg Knapp’s offense, Pryor’s play was the most impressive offense that Oakland has seen in the preseason. Even though Pryor’s big plays came against Detroit backups, coach Dennis Allen was still asked after the game if Pryor had done enough to enter the conversation at quarterback. Allen didn’t hesitate before shooting down that notion.
“He’s still a work in progress,” Allen said, via Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com. “But I thought he made some strides today. He’s not where we need him to be. He’s not where he wants to be. But he made some progress.”
Calling the idea of the Raiders turning to Pryor as a starter at this point in the season far-fetched is something of an understatement. He’s never played with or against a starting unit and didn’t see any action in the regular season as a rookie. Progress is all the Raiders needed to see at this point, although it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Raiders would try to find a way to use his exceptional athletic ability at some point in 2012.
That would mean a spot on the active roster on game days and that could mean more for Leinart’s future in Oakland than it does for Palmer’s.