Allen: Pryor needs to make 'the smart play'
Terrelle Pryor led an 84-yard drive that ended in an ill-advised interception thrown in the end zone. (AP IMAGES)
What you need to know: Terrelle Pryor played extremely well in Friday’s 19-17 preseason win over the Dallas Cowboys, save one huge mistake.
The athletic quarterback showed improved accuracy and dynamic running ability on broken plays during an 84-yard drive that ended in a careless, ill-advised interception thrown in the end zone, into heavy traffic.
His playmaking ability can’t be ignored. Neither can his inconsistency. That dichotomy keeps him at No. 2 on the depth chart.
[Instant Replay: McGloin steals show, Raiders gut out win]
The encouraging part, was that Pryor learned from his mistakes. On his next series, he avoided the big mistake and came away with a field goal.
“The interception was me being greedy,” Pryor said. “I looked at the pictures and I easily could’ve ran for a first down. In the back of my mind, I might have just wanted to throw a touchdown pass. I have to understand the abilities and use them to perfection. But I learned from it. I learned within one possession to not force things.”
Starter Matt Flynn rarely forces things, which is why he’s in line to start at quarterback. He played well in his second series – the first ended in a lost fumble due to a protection mistake up front – and managed the game efficiently.
For a team in desperate need of stability at quarterback, steadiness will earn you starts.
“When you look at Matt Flynn, you’re not going to be wowed,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s not the biggest or strongest or fastest or in possession of the best arm. But that’s not what being a great quarterback in this league is all about. Playing quarterback is more about the mental aspects of the game than the physical ones. It’s timing, decision-making and accuracy. Those are some of the things I see him being able to do.”
Lasting impact: Sio Moore’s first professional exhibition was a real veteran effort. The third-round pick started at strongside linebacker had two tackles and a quarterback sack on his third snap.
The coaches have shown faith in the young player, putting him right in with the first team in camp. Moore relishes such responsibility and the ability to play standing up on rushing downs and put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer.
The expectations have been great, because it means the coaches believe in what I can do,” Moore said. “I want them to be able to trust me and I want my teammates to trust me as well. I’ve been given an opportunity, but I want to work for what I have.”
Play of the Game: Quarterback Matt McGloin showed off his fastball on a 30-yard touchdown strike to receiver Brice Butler. He threw a laser beam to Butler’s inside shoulder – away from outside coverage – that was easily caught for the Raiders’ only touchdown.
Player of the Game: McGloin gets the game ball. The undrafted free agent out of Penn State had a 135.7 quarterback rating, and scored 10 points in three drives. He was poised, and is clearly the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.
Looking good: Running back Rashad Jennings ran well, showing patience, vision and burst through the hole. He had 39 yards on nine carries, including a 16-yard romp. … Safety Usama Young played well from both safety spots, and hauled in an interception. … Butler stood out following a pedestrian start to camp, performing better than those is competition against to for roster spot.
Needs Improvement: Left guard Tony Bergstrom and right guard Mike Brisiel struggled to open running lanes in the first half, getting routinely pushed back and collapsing the pocket. … Quarterback Tyler Wilson missed on easy short passes and couldn’t score a touchdown after getting the ball on the Dallas 9-yard line.
McFadden’s short stint: Star running back Darren McFadden only had five yards on three carries (1.7 yards per rush, although the offensive line had blocking issues), and a 8-yard reception in limited, but it wasn’t a wasted effort.
The Raiders wanted to get his feet wet without overexposing him to injury risk. That mission was accomplished.
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“We planned on giving him six to eight reps,” Allen said. “We wanted to get him a few touches early, to get him involved in the game and then get him out of there.” Injury Concerns: The Raiders came out of Friday’s game relatively clean. Only linebacker Keenan Clayton was injured against the Cowboys. While Dennis Allen doesn’t comment on injury specifics during the preseason, he said Clayton may miss more than a few days.
Quote of the day: "I’m 23, and I’ve been waiting all my life for that moment. When it happened it was awesome. What a great experience. -- receiver Brice Butler, on playing his first NFL game.
Looking ahead: The Raiders played a solid first preseason game. They moved the ball well on offense, and their first-team defense didn’t allow a touchdown. They lined up right, generally played assignment-sound football, which is vital to setting a foundation for further improvement.
“It was a good start,” Allen said. “I was happy with several things, but it’s also clear that we have a lot of work left to do.”