Though we’d like to think it was Pryor’s strong showing against the Chicago Bears that vaulted him into the starting lineup, Allen isn’t willing to admit as much. Said Allen of his reason to seemingly bench starter Matt Flynn, “His arm is a little sore right now, so we’re going to rest him and try to get that arm back a little bit.”
Allen did conceded, however, that Pryor did give the team a “spark,” but that spark isn’t the determining factor in his decision.
“What I want to look at it is, who gives us the best chance to move the ball down the field and score points,” Allen said. “And what combination of things give us the best chance to move the ball down the field and score points. Obviously, I’m not going to look at one night and base any type of decision based off of one night. I’m going to go back and I’m going to look at it and we’ll see where we go from here.”
What Allen will find is in 10 total drives, Pryor has lead the Raiders to a score six times. Flynn has the lead the team to only two scores on 13 total drives. But, scores aside, Pryor has clearly been the better quarterback — albeit against weaker competition.
While these stats reflect each quarterback’s performance against basic preseason defenses, the differences are worth noting. Pryor is showing himself to be every bit as accurate as Flynn is, if not more so. And, he’s definitely more adept at escaping pressure, as illustrated by Pryor’s 12.5% sack percentage — which is the number of times Pryor was sacked relative to the number of times he was pressured. Not to mention that while escaping pressure, Pryor has gained 53 yards and a score (he would have had 60 yards and two scores, had a penalty not nullified a scoring play against the Saints). In total, Pryor has ran the ball 11 times for 83 yards and one touchdown. For an offensive line that has allowed six sacks, four quarterback hits, and 26 pressures in 105 preseason pass-snaps (which is good for third worst in the NFL), Pryor’s escapability is paramount.
Maybe if this was a different team, with a different set of expectations, starting Matt Flynn would make the most sense. But, this is a Raider team that is rebuilding mode — no matter what Mark Davis says — and the simple truth is they will likely be playing from behind more often than not. Because of that, Terrelle Pryor gives the Raiders a better chance to win. His big play ability, with both his arm and legs, gives the Raiders the requisite fire power to shrink large deficits — he showed as much against Chicago. Matt Flynn cannot do this. Well, not on this team, anyway.