The Oakland Raiders are less than a week away from the first game of their 2013 NFL schedule and they have yet to name a starting quarterback. Head coach Dennis Allen has told the media he already knows who his starting quarterback would be, but was not yet ready to share that with the Indianapolis Colts.
In fact, Allen went so far as to say he may not officially name the starter until Sunday morning.
However, while Allen has not shared with the public who his starting quarterback will be, he has shared it with the two men vying for the position, Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor. Entering training camp, Flynn was the presumptive starter for the Raiders and some suspected Pryor might wind up battling to keep the back up role.
It soon became clear, however, that Pryor had made great strides, especially improving his mechanics during the off season. No one expected him to have improved enough to compete for a starting job, and yet that’s exactly what ended up happening.
The whole competition may never have been if starting left tackle Jared Veldheer hadn’t gotten injured. When Veldheer went down, the entire competition changed. The offensive line could not provide any time to the quarterback and pretty soon it was as if Flynn was being thrown down by wave after wave of defenders before he could even take a three step drop.
While Pryor struggled behind the poor pass protection as well, his speed and athleticism allowed him to escape the pocket and extend plays. While Pryor was far from being stellar in the preseason, his ability to make plays with his legs put him right in the mix for the starting job.
Since Pryor outplayed Flynn in the preseason, most presume he will be the starting quarterback in Week 1. But while Allen will not confirm it, he appears willing to allow that idea to grow.
Guess we’re allowed to say QB Terrelle Pryor took first snap of first drill with first team
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 2, 2013
This, of course, confirms nothing. Allen allowed the media to know who took the first snap, but for all we know, Flynn or even McGloin may have taken the second snap. If nothing else, it is clear Allen is at least attempting to play head games with the Colts’ defensive coordinator.
But at the end of the day, the only real curve ball Allen could throw at the Colts would be to start Flynn over Pryor. If that’s the decision Allen goes with, he may not be very happy with the results. Flynn looks like the kind of stagnant curve a batter tears the cover off of.