'Programming note: Watch Thursday’s Raiders press conference with Dennis Allen Jason Tarver and Greg Olson streaming live online right here at 1:15 p.m.
Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor put on a brave face, stood tall and said all the right things.
Somewhere deep down, this demotion has to hurt. Matt McGloin earned a second start on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, and he would’ve made it whether Pryor was healthy or not.
Pryor isn’t right, and hasn’t been since suffering a Grade II sprain in his right MCL, which typically takes 3-4 weeks to fully recover. A player like Pryor needs mobility, and it slowed him in a crucial loss to the New York Giants. Before that, Pryor struggled against defenses starting to figure him out.
He started eight games. He surprised most with shocking progress as a passer. He kept the Raiders competitive despite an ailing offensive line. Right now, temporarily at least, he’s No. 2 on his own team.
Pryor isn’t placing blame, even with a ready-made excuse in his right knee.
“I’m not frustrated,” Pryor said. “That’s just the game. It happens. Other guys play well. If you get hurt and other guys play well, why not continue with it? I don’t blame Coach. I’m a team player. … I hope Matt has a lot of success. At the end of the day, like I said, I just got to get healthy. That’s all I can really control.”
Pryor has a physical therapist at his house doing extra rehab. He’s working to strengthen the muscle and therefore the tendons around the knee. He’s also being careful with how he practices, and exactly what to communicate with team trainers.
That was taken from the Giants loss, when he kept his soreness level quiet and then volunteered it to the press. He also practiced extensively during the week leading up to the game, which only made things worse. He doesn’t want the same thing to happen again.
“I have to keep playing it very safe and understand that, during practice, I shouldn’t do anything to aggravate it,” Pryor said. “That’s what I’m being leery about.”
Pryor wants to get healthy, because he’ll likely play when he is. Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Pryor would possibly have a package of plays accentuate his athletic gifts, as they planned to when Matt Flynn was set to start.
Even that isn’t ideal. Pryor received national attention for improved play. He was a Bay Area darling and a sign of resurgence. Deep down, most knew Pryor remained a work in progress. Still, his ascent was followed by an equally rapid crash.
One thing that can’t be argued: Pryor cares. He wants to win and be good at this level. This news wasn’t welcome, but was taken relatively well.
“I’m sure that he wants to be out there and he wants to be able to play, but I think he understands where we’re at and the situation that we’re in,” Allen said. “I don’t know, obviously that he’s 100 percent healthy and I don’t know how many guys are at this time and point in the season, but he understands that he needs to get healthy so he has an opportunity to come out and help us.”
Pryor said he isn’t going to pout. He promised to rehab and help McGloin and the Raiders defense in any way possible. He needs to stay ready because, if McGloin slips, he could get another chance.
“I work hard regardless. Obviously, I know I can get better," Pryor said. "I know I have to take care of the ball. I learned a lot of stuff from the mistakes that I made.
“You have to take the situation for what it is. All I can do is push forward, help the defense out and help Matt out. All I can do is be the best teammate I can be.”