In the hours leading up to Sunday night’s 27-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers, more than one story questioning Terrelle Pryor’s hold on the Raiders’ starting QB job was published.
Josh Freeman’s release by Tampa seemed to fuel the speculation. Freeman, the 2009 first round pick of the Bucs, had seen his stock drop amid rumors of vote-fixing in the team’s captaincy election by Head Coach Greg Schiano, allegations of a drug problem, and a decline from his 4,000-yard, 27-TD campaign just a year ago.
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal speculated that the Raiders were a likely landing spot because “the Raiders aren’t nearly as high on Terrelle Pryor as their fans are” and “Freeman likely would take over as the team’s starting quarterback.” All this despite the fact that the Raiders have gone after “character” guys and have already been burnt by more than one expensive quarterback rehab project. See: Carson Palmer and Matt Flynn.
Being a paranoid Raiders fan, I started to suspect that these writers were full of crap and eager to hate on Pryor, the team’s bright spot so far.
But I have to admit, after long advocating for Pryor to get a chance at starting, I had a worry that was difficult to put my finger on.
“What if he gets hurt?” No, that isn’t it. Anyone can get hurt during an NFL game at any time. Not a reasonable fear.
“What if the league figures out how to stop him from rolling to his right?” What IF? The guy has shown that he can throw on the run, throw flat-footed, across his body and off the wrong foot! He isn’t a one-trick pony!
I didn’t know what my real worry was until Pryor talked about it himself.
It’s the Tebow factor.
In the first reasonable and balanced national story about the Raiders quarterback situation, Pryor admits that he is worried about lapsing into bad passing habits, a la unemployed Tim Tebow. Tebow is just two seasons removed from leading the Broncos to the playoffs and they unloaded his ass as fast as humanly possible to the Jets, who decided to dump him in favor of a situation that involves Mark Sanchez.
Just when I thought I couldn’t like Pyror more, he came right out and confronted the fear that was lurking in my subconscious.
“What if this is all an illusion and he’s going to experience a heartbreaking regression?”
Unlike Tebow, Pryor isn’t only calling on a spiritual fix. He’s apparently working his ass off, and he’s going to display the swagger of Kenny Stabler while he does it.
The only real quarterback controversy in Oakland lives in the second string.
Undrafted free agent Matt McGloin is a great story, but the team wants a guy with experience in the event that Pryor goes down again.
David Carr had an audition on Monday, as did Pat White.
I’m pulling for Carr because he’s a Bakersfield guy, and easily the nicest professional athlete I’ve ever met. I spent some time with him a couple of years ago when he was still with the New York Giants, and it was like hanging out with a regular dude. He and his wife had a child while he was at Fresno State, and he had to take advantage of government assistance to make sure everyone got fed.
I asked him how first round money changed his life, and he had a quick answer.
“I remember not being able to buy the all the food I wanted to buy when I was in college. There were times when I’d be walking up to the register, and I’d be worried that I couldn’t afford the basics for my wife and child, and that’s not a good feeling. After I got drafted, I didn’t have to worry when we went grocery shopping, and that was a great feeling,” Carr said. He really is THAT dude.
If you need another reason to root for a guy who set the single season getting-sacked recored his rookie year, check this out.
Oldster Trent Edwards also joined the backup lottery, as did a handful of running backs, which makes sense because Rashad Jennings and Marcel Reece need someone to share carries with and help keep them healthy.
Don’t listen to gossipy old women like Gregg Rosenthal, as they only seem interested in filling their word counts with agitating stories based on quotes from “team sources” who are most likely guys they drank with in the hotel bar. The Raiders don’t need Freeman to push Pryor to greatness, something he’s already determined to achieve.