A competitive spirit. A hard worker. A man with a drive to succeed. These are all ways to describe Terrelle Pryor.
The third year Raiders quarterback and first year starter says he doesn’t think going back to Oakland for the home opener Sunday will be any more motivating for himself.
Pryor also says he’s ready to win — something Raider Nation hasn’t been accustomed to consistently for over a decade.
Following the Raiders’ tough loss at the Indianapolis Colts, Pryor was noticeably distraught, maybe even furious. Pryor said that made him look forward to the home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars even more:
“After we lost, I was upset. And I got on the plane and started watching Jacksonville. That’s the best part about playing football, about being quarterback. You want to see what these guys are going to do to you, to try and stop you. It’s a great feeling.”
Pryor finished in Indy with what he said was a decision-making grade of 95 percent — almost perfect — given to him by coaches. The only dings on that report card may have taken place in crunch time.
With under a minute remaining, the Raiders were knocking on the door of a week one victory.
Pryor had led his team from their own 20 yard line to the Colts eight yard line in a few minutes. A clutch fourth-and-nine pass to Denarius Moore brought them to that spot, but Pryor took a sack on the very next down, moving the ball back to the 24 yard line.
One incompletion and one interception later, the game was over, something the young signal caller realizes all too well:
“You have to play smart, you have to keep the team moving. … If I hadn’t taken the sack, if I had gotten the ball to the site, we wouldn’t even be here talking about an interception. We would be 1-0.”
Coach Dennis Allen let it be known the day after the game, telling the media:
“… the guys in that locker room don’t take any solace in a loss.”
The pressure Pryor applied to the Colts, down to the final seconds, has made some wonder if he might be the quarterback of the future.
Pryor acknowledged that he has guys counting on him and Allen believes that the Jaguars will apply added pressure on him to either keep him in — or out — of the pocket:
“You have a look at what they’ve done all preseason, you have a look at what they did in the opening game. I would suspect they have some different things they will try to do for Terrelle … We’ll have to be ready to adjust depending on what they show us early in the game.”
Pryor had some big runs during the Colts game, something that has taken the league aback — especially fantasy football owners.
On one run, Pryor stiff-armed safety Laron Landry, getting the team got fired up around him. Allen, though, said Pryor needs to know when to declare the play over:
“You don’t want to take any of his athleticism away from him because he has the ability to make some big plays, what you want to try and do is limit the amount of times he takes a hit. He’s got to do a good job of seeing what he can get and then not take the hit at the end.”
Pryor said he agrees with Allen, but that given his competitive nature, it may be a learning curve:
“The way I think about it, I’m 238 pounds and six-foot-five and I feel like I can take that stuff on but you have to play smart. … But I can’t sit here and lie to you, because I’m so competitive that I might forget.”
That competitive spirit is something that can get a football team moving in the right direction.
Teammates have said that Pryor will leave notes in their lockers with tips on how to beat their defenders. Pryor, fullback Marcell Reece and running back Darren McFadden meet on the Tuesday off day at 8 a.m. to go over film and work on the next game.
Many doubted the Raiders throughout the preseason, and the Raiders are still by far the underdog. They were an early favorite to get the first overall pick of next year’s draft, but seem to be on a mission to shake up the football world.
Tight end David Ausberry, left tackle convert Menelik Watson, safety Tyvon Branch and kicker Sebastian Janikowski did not practice Wednesday.