The Raiders spent the first two years after late owner Al Davis’ death looking for a quarterback to return the franchise to glory.
They traded for Carson Palmer and Matt Flynn, drafted Tyler Wilson and pursued Josh Freeman, all while being deeply skeptical of Davis’ final draft pick in Oakland.
Now the Raiders finally appear to be firmly behind Terrelle Pryor as their starting quarterback, believing his steadily improving mechanics, paired with his breathtaking athleticism, could give the organization the quarterback it’s been lacking during a decade of disappointment.
“I think they have an intriguing prospect that they can continue to develop,” said Rich Gannon, the last quarterback to lead the Raiders to the playoffs in 2002. “This is a tremendous opportunity for him and he’s earned that opportunity. He clearly beat out the other guy in training camp. It’s not like this job was given to him. But now you need to see continued improvement from the guy.”
Pryor’s performance so far this season may be enough to take the Raiders off the list of teams that will be desperate to draft a quarterback in April.
That optimism remains even after Pryor had his worst career start last Sunday in a 24-7 loss at Kansas City. He threw three interceptions and was sacked nine times as he struggled behind a makeshift offensive line and with record-setting crowd noise.
Pryor heads into the bye week completing 64.5 percent of his passes with an 84.8 passer rating, while leading the team with 285 yards rushing.
“Anybody who says it hasn’t surprised them is lying,” said former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer. “I’m blown away. His good has gotten really good. His bad is still really bad and he has to fix that, but his good is much better than anybody could have imagined.”