I’ve been fairly down on Pryor’s prospects as a starter this offseason, mostly based on his training camp performance and the fact that he is still a project at the QB position, a fact he readily admits.
I’ve also been vocal about saying I thought Matt Flynn could be a serviceable starter as he’s shown the ability to be accurate when given time to go through his progressions.
The problem, as many of you who interact with me on Twitter have pointed out, is that Flynn has no time to go through his progressions with the offensive line.
Instead, he looks like he has to speed up his internal clock, making decisions faster than he’d like, to disastrous results.
Last night’s game against the Bears flipped the competition for me. Pryor has his weaknesses, still, but his skil-set is a better fit with this offense. He displayed creativity and athleticism, escaping the Chicago pass-rush to set up passes down-field.
Flynn ended with a miserable 3 for 6 for 19 yards and two INTs. While the first INT may not have been his fault – he clearly threw it to a position where he thought receiver Denarius Moore was going to be after cutting off his route – the second interception was mainly the result of a poorly placed ball behind a receiver and almost right to the defender.
Pryor, contrastingly, brought a spark to a flagging Raiders offense. The third-year QB ended up 7 for 9 for 93 yards and two TDs, one passing and one on a very nice 25 yard run early in the second half.
While Pryor earned his stats against the Bears second team, I believe he did enough to put himself in a position to start.
Dennis Allen seemed to understand as well, saying that Pryor provided a spark “with his mobility and his ability to create plays downfield. He made some impressive throws.”
Allen refused to weigh in on who would be his starter week 1 vs Indianapolis, a sign that he is, at least, considering Pryor as the starter at this time. He told the assembled media that he wouldn’t be making any decisions last night.
As AP’s Josh Dubow pointed out last night, the starting offense with Flynn has put up only 10 points on 13 drives. The second offense with Pryor at QB has put up 26 points on 10 drives.
Allen’s reticence notwithstanding, Pryor has earned the chance to start for this team. He’s still consistent but his athletic ability will give the team a better chance, at this point, than Flynn.
I don’t know if Allen will agree, but with his job potentially on the line, he should go with Pryor over Flynn to give the Raiders the best chance to win.