You’ve heard it before: The NFL is a copycat league. Sometimes the copy-cating is done ironically. Sometimes its done out necessity. But mostly its done out of desperation. And the Raiders, if you haven’t noticed, are desperate.
The Raiders have lost the past four games by a total of 90 points. In those games, the Raiders have averaged a paltry 367 yards of total offense and only 19.75 points (15.7 in the last three). They have also turned the ball over seven times, while forcing just two turnovers on defense. In short, they’re a mess. A hot mess, even.
Though the problems haven’t been at quarterback, that might be the first position to change, according to head coach Dennis Allen anyway. Following Sundays bludgeoning at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals, Allen told reporters that he and the coaching staff discussed using quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the back-up’s back-up, in a way that might resemble the role filled by the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick earlier in the season.
“[Pryor is] working to get better and he’s working to improve,” said Allen. “He’s gotten better as a quarterback. I don’t think any of us feel like he’s the finished product, including himself, but he has worked to improve.”
I suppose the hope is that the work Pryor has done to improve himself will somehow improve the Raiders offense. Just how this would work is yet to be determined, but offenses with running quarterbacks have been very successful this season. Take the Washington Redskins for example. Last season, the Redskins’ offense averaged only 336 yards-per-game. This season, they’ve averaged nearly 50 yards more. Of course yards don’t tell the whole story. And there is no telling how much better teams like the Redskins are because of the read-option/running threat present with running quarterbacks.
For the 49ers, the benefit of the change is a bit more apparent. Colin Kaepernick has energized the 49ers’ offense and Terrelle Pryor.
The Kaepernick-led offense has meant a one-yard increase in yards per pass attempt, as well as nearly a full touchdown more per game. Statistics aside, general consensus says that the 49ers’ offense is more dynamic and difficult to defend. Two things the Raiders haven’t been able to say since last season. At this point, the Raiders couldn’t be much worse. And, really, utilizing the talents of Pryor would serve to not only diversify the offense, but also judge Pryor’s progress after having spent almost two season watching from the sidelines. In the end, being a copy kap would be a win-win for the Raiders.