It is a day some people saw as unlikely, and others saw as imminent: Terrelle Pryor has a starting quarterback job in the NFL.
The former Ohio State signal caller is most known around Columbus for his involvement in the 2011 NCAA violations, known as “Tattoo-Gate,” in which he was found to have sold memorabilia and received improper benefits.
Pryor was named the Oakland Raiders starter coming out of training camp, beating out Matt Flynn, who the organization traded for in the offseason as well as 2013 NFL Draft pick Matt McGloin.
However, three games into a season is usually the time to assess one’s play, especially the offensive leader of a 1-2 team.
In his first start of 2013 (Pryor’s first career start came in a 2012 Week 17 loss in place of an injured Carson Palmer), Pryor and the Raiders fell to Indianapolis, 21-17, thanks to Andrew Luck’s game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Pryor’s gutsy performance earned him national recognition however, as his 112 rushing yards led the league that day, running backs included.
The following week brought Pryor his first career victory in a sloppy game all around. The Raiders beat the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars 19-9, while Pryor passed for just 126 yards.
The third-round pick of the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft had his best statistical outing on Monday night in a lopsided loss to Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos. Despite being the matchup’s lesser quarterback, Pryor notched respectable career highs as a starter in passing yards (281), completion percentage (67.9) and passer rating (112.4).
Pryor has ample opportunity to improve his numbers and reverse his team’s fortune in the coming weeks, as five of Oakland’s next six opponents currently sport losing records.
If Pryor struggles through this stretch, expect Raider coach Dennis Allen to hand the offense’s reigns over to backup Flynn. The former Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson backup, who is guaranteed $6.5 million from the Raiders this season according to the San Francisco Chronicle, is once again holding a clipboard on the sideline.
A big hit late Monday night against Denver left Pryor with a concussion; he is currently listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Washington. If unable to play, Flynn will get a chance to prove himself in front of the Raider faithful.
It will be interesting to see how Pryor leads the Raiders moving forward. Whether in fantasy football or in real life it is hard to deny that the Jeanette, Pa., quarterback is fun to watch. That is, of course, if you’ve forgiven him for his role in “Tattoo-Gate.”