Why the Raiders would make Pryor primary backup

Reggie McKenzie, the Raiders GM, was asked yesterday about whether he sees Terrelle Pryor as a viable possible backup for Carson Palmer as soon as this next season.

His response was, “Absolutely. Yep. Hopefully our quarterback coach and offensive coordinator, the staff, can work him starting next week’s voluntary minicamp. And see if we can get him rolling. It’s going to be a constant evaluation. But they need to find out how good he is and how good he can be.”

TFDS has been skeptical of the lack of a veteran backup QB signed to date so his answer was somewhat surprising.  Since then, I’ve been mulling over why he wouldn’t be signing another option.

It appears that the thought process is that there’s no hurry to do so at this time.  Most, if not all teams, have their Quarterback situation set.  There will be some movement but nothing is likely too drastic at this time.  Therefore, the Raiders need not take any action, now, until they have an assessment on Pryor’s abilities or lack thereof.

Actually, waiting at this time seems more prudent simply because after the draft there are likely to be additional cuts and there may be an option that would become available that the Raiders would prefer.

So, if the Raiders do not like Pryor as a backup QB, they can address the position after the draft to get someone in that they like better.  But, if they think that he shows enough that he could step in and be the primary backup, they can draft or sign another developmental prospect and let the two battle for the backup position in camp.

Having a backup QB that the team can trust is very important as Raiders fans experienced last season when Jason Campbell went out with a clavicle fracture to be replaced by the much less accurate and poised Kyle Boller.

Many teams only dress two QBs, as well, a change in the new CBA.  Under the prior agreement, each team could select 45 players to dress and the 3rd QB was an automatic 46th that didn’t count against that tally.  However, that QB was designated as an “emergency” QB and could only come in at the end of games or, if he played before the 4th quarter, no QB listed on the depth chart above him could come back into the game.

The new agreement changed this – team’s are now allowed to officially dress 46 players and the 46 player can be at any position.  Many teams choose to only dress 2 QBs and use the last roster spot at another position that is more likely to be needed.  If the Raiders do this, it’s likely they would designate their 3rd QB as Punter Shane Lechler, who played QB in High School and has been designated the emergency QB before as needed.

For more information on this change, this article is helpful.

So, if the Raiders do not get more depth at the position and have Pryor backup Palmer directly, the Raiders game day QB depth chart could be: Palmer, Pryor and Lechler.

The team’s first minicamp starts next Tuesday, April 17th.  The coaching staff will surely make it a priority to find out what kind of player they have in Pryor at that time.

For more Raiders news and analysis, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews

Asher Mathews

About Asher Mathews

Head writer for TFDS Sports, covering the Oakland Raiders and NFL at large. Proud Purdue alum. Follow me on Twitter!

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