Three and Out: Adjusting to Pryor; Allen chooses Ford
Terrelle Pryor will start the exhibition finale after his strong showing against the Bears. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
ALAMEDA -- Terrelle Pryor uses a play call as a starting point. If Plan A breaks down, the 24-year old quarterback isn’t afraid to improvise.
Pyror’s athleticism can keep plays alive as he scrambles and shakes tackles, but it takes work from others to make big plays happen.
"You go into a different mode just trying to make a play,” fullback Marcel Reece said after Monday’s practice. “He can do so many things on the fly that you have to be ready for anything. Depending on where he goes, you have to just get open or go find a man to block.
"Terrelle brings a different dynamic to the game, where a play is never over until the whistle blows. You just have to be ready for it."
Linemen have to adjust blocking angles on the fly as he moves around. Receivers have to execute something known as the scramble drill.
The Raiders work on it regularly, to help receivers adjust to a creative quarterback. It’s equal parts science and instinct, where routes are broken off and space is created that allows a player like Pryor to do his thing.
“There are rules to follow depending where you are on the field and where he’s rolling,” receiver Jacoby Ford said. “That tells us roughly where to go and how we operate on the field. We work on it in practice, so you always know what to do when he gets creative.”
Receivers have to leak open and give Pryor a window to throw the football. And, if he suddenly tucks and runs, they have to find a defender and block.
Changes happen in a flash. How fast the unit responds to Pryor’s whim often dictates whether a play evolves or falls apart.
They functioned well when Pryor was on the field Friday against Chicago. Pryor’s highlight-worthy jump pass would’ve fallen flat if Rod Streater hadn’t come back to the ball and made an athletic catch.
Pryor wouldn’t have scored on his 25-yard touchdown run, without downfield blocking to pave a path.
Pryor understands his success isn’t isolated. That’s why he texts skill players regularly, leaves encouraging notes and thanks those around him for making big plays happen.
It also helps first-teamers rally around him despite getting reps with other quarterbacks in practice. The Raiders enjoy having Pryor behind center, because there’s never a dull moment.
“You have to be on your toes when you play with him because you never know what’s going to happen or what he’s going to do,” Ford said. It’s a good experience to play with him.”