We all saw flashes of his potential during the 2012 preseason, but Terrelle Pryor remained tightly under wraps as a regular-season quarterback until Sunday against the Colts. Based on what he accomplished in Indy, there’s no reason to think Pryor can’t continue it, and eventually build on it.
Despite rumblings in the home team’s locker room that Pryor makes one read in the passing game and then runs the ball, our review of the entire game shows multiple occasions in which Pryor dropped back and considered multiple options before throwing or running.
On the opening drive of the game, for example, there were multiple plays in which Pryor made more than one read before throwing the ball, including during a pair of third-down conversions. And when Pryor found Rod Streater on third and 10 for a key first down inside the Colts 10 as Oakland prepared to take its first lead of the game in the fourth quarter, Pryor dropped back, made multiple reads, rolled to the right, and finally connected with Streater.
When Pryor appeared to use the one-read-and-run approach, it was effective far more often than not. He got rid of the ball quickly in many situations, with confidence that the man to whom it was being thrown would be open. When Pryor ran, either by design or due to a breakdown in protection, he was elusive in the backfield and fast once he took off.
Pryor also displayed poise and confidence. Down 14-0 after two Indianapolis drives, Pryor didn’t give up. The Raiders chipped away and eventually took the lead. Even after Colts quarterback Andrew Luck authored his eighth career fourth-quarter come-from-behind drive, Pryor wouldn’t quit, taking the Raiders to the doorstep of the end zone before throwing an interception that ended the game.
Through it all, Pryor made plenty of accurate throws, including a ball lofted to a wide-open Jeron Murstad for a large chunk of ground when the Raiders were driving for a possible win.
Pryor’s best throw of the day ended up not counting. From the Colts 30, running back Darren McFadden lined up wide to the right and ran a slant-and-go. After pumping on the short route, Pryor rainbowed the ball to the front corner of the end zone. McFadden caught it, but he didn’t get a second foot in bounds.
Also, the third-year quarterback from Ohio State also executed the read-option very well, faking out the CBS cameras on multiple occasions when it appeared he’d handed the ball off.
All things considered, it was a great debut from a player who appears to have a ton of potential, especially given the recent rise of the mobile quarterback. If he can continue to get rid of the ball quickly and to avoid the rush and to turn on the jets when it’s time to run north-south, Pryor could become every bit as dangerous as the other starting quarterback in the Bay Area.