Jaguars-Raiders matchup No. 1. Pryor vs. Posluszny

McFadden: Pryor's running takes attention away from other weapons

Jaguars-Raiders matchup No. 1. Pryor vs. Posluszny
September 14, 2013, 10:45 am
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Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny recorded a team-high 10 solo tackles in a Week 1 loss to the Chiefs. (AP)

QB Terrelle Pyror vs. MLB Paul Posluszny

Tale of the tape
Pryor (2): 6-foot-4, 233 pounds, third season, Ohio State
Posluszny (51): 6-foot-2, 242 pounds, seventh season, Penn State

Terrelle Pryor has been celebrated over the past week for his ability to create. He was successful against the Colts for another reason. The Raiders quarterback played smarter than you might think. He identified blitzes and made smart throw. He identified hot routes.

That’s an encouraging sign, given that he’ll see difficult looks as the season wears on. Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is the chief player in charge of confusing Pryor. Posluszny was given a six-year, $42 million contract for his smarts, his tackling ability and his ability to run a defense. He’s one of the Jaguars best players, and he’ll be in charge of keeping Pryor in the pocket.

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That’s no easy task. Pryor gets outside and creates in large part because he’s huge, a tough person to bring down. He evades tacklers and can take off and run or make big throws outside the pocket.

It’ll take a collective effort for Jacksonville to stop him, but the Jaguars’ high-price linebacker will lead that effort. He’s excellent running from sideline to sideline and can track down and tackle big players.

Posluszny might be a quarterback spy, he might not. He might confuse his looks and try to force Pryor into poor decisions. The Raiders must adjust to what the Jaguars do in the game.

“With a guy like Terrelle, you don’t know exactly how they’re going to defend him, really, until you get in the game,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “You have a look at what they’ve done all preseason. You have a look at what they did in the opening game, but I would suspect they’ll have some different things that they’ll try to do for Terrelle, whether it be a pressure plan against him, a spy plan against him, try to keep in the pocket. But we’ll have to be ready to adjust depending on what they show us early in the game.”

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Pryor is tough to game plan for. He changes things on the fly and adjusts during a game. The Jaguars will charge Posluszny with making adjustments on the field. A lot of that comes before the snap, when the linebacker is charged with making checks and putting defenders in the place to succeed. Even with the right players in place, stopping Pryor is not guaranteed.

“He is very athletic,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “He makes plays on his feet. He’s always a threat – not only in their read-option plays, but also with his scrambling and his bootlegs – so we have to be aware of where he is on the field and the style of passes he likes to throw.”