Terrelle Pryor will be the Raiders starting quarterback. The 24-year old was told on Monday that he’ll start the regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
The news was first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Pryor’s promotion is not a shock. In fact, it was expected.
His ascent began after an excellent performance on Aug. 23 against the Chicago Bears. He ran with the first unit the following week, while Matt Flynn sat out with elbow tendinitis.
Pryor didn’t fare particularly well during Thursday’s exhibition finale against the Seattle Seahawks, but the Raiders were already leaning towards Pryor.
With an offensive line that struggles to protect the passer and receivers better suited to deep passes, Pryor is the best fit for this roster as currently constructed.
Darren McFadden is excited about the prospect of playing with Pryor.
“Terrelle is an explosive player that defenses have to account for,” McFadden said last week. “He’s going to attract attention and take some of it away from me. That should open up running lanes that will help get the running game going.”
While head coach Dennis Allen refused to name a starting quarterback for “competitive reasons” it was clear Pryor was his man. Despite a 9.9 quarterback rating against the Seahawks, Allen praised his ability to create with his legs.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson praised Pryor’s ability last week, saying the quarterback was what the Raiders were looking for.
"When you see Terrelle in a game, he just looks faster than the other players on the field," Olson said. "That's what jumped out at me and probably jumped out at most people when they watch him play. He can run. He is a tremendous athlete, and he's got the ability to make plays. Right now, we're looking for playmakers."
The revelation is a bad case of déjà vu for Flynn. He failed to win a starting job last season in Seattle, but the Raiders gave him a second chance by acquiring him in trade.
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Flynn ran the first team through most of training camp. He played well for the first three weeks, especially in practice. He had a terrible game against the Bears, and looked out of sync the week before with a pocket collapsing around him.
While he doesn’t have tremendous arm strength, he excelled in short and intermediate timing routes.
Olson built a package for Pryor and planned to use him in the regular season. That package expanded throughout the preseason, and will now be a focal point of the offense.
“I think really we’ve been adding to that package since we got here and his role all the time is in competition,” Olson said. “Obviously, we signed Matt with the thought he’s going to come in and be the starter and we would have that package for Terrelle but he’s done some things in these preseason games that we have been excited about and I know a lot of people are excited about so with his success on the field we’ll continue to add to that package.”