Raiders-Steelers matchup No. 1: Terrelle Pryor vs. Troy Polamalu
Terrelle Pryor may have a tough time against a Pittsburgh defense that is sixth in the NFL in total defense, giving up 306.8 yards per game. (USATI)
Editor’s note: This is the third part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Steelers matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m., at Oakland Coliseum.
Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor vs. Steelers SS Troy Polamalu Tale of the tape:
Pryor (2): 6-foot-4, 233 pounds, third season, Ohio State
Polamalu (43): 5-foot-10, 207 pounds, eleventh season, Southern California
Terrelle Pryor considers himself a better quarterback than a week ago. The Raiders’ signal caller spent his bye week working on the little things, from throwing mechanics to decision making.
Those lessons took place on a private field, away from pass rushers and crowds and Monday-morning quarterbacks alike. Pryor believes bye-week lessons will translate, even against the king of deception.
Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu will psyche you out, jumping snap counts and routes if you let him.
“He's everywhere,”Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. "You never know where he's going to be. He makes a lot of plays and does a great job of timing snap counts and pressures and those types of things. He's the guy we have to account for. He's a great player. He's been a great player in this league. We have to know where he's at on every single play. He's kind of one of those catalysts on their football team."
Center Stefen Wisniewski will help deal with Pittsburgh’s defense, taking pressure off Pryor following a disappointing affair versus Kansas City. It will still be difficult against a physical Pittsburgh defense that is 16-2 against rookie quarterbacks, which Pryor essentially is.
Polamalu loves disrupting quarterbacks, by snap count or intimidation.
After a week’s worth of film work, Pryor is ready to execute.
“I just have to be ready to hold the snap. He’s like Tarzan, jumping all over the place,” Pryor said. “The guys are going to be on him. ‘D-Mac’ [Darren McFadden] is going to be scanning, keying him and the fullback’s are going to be scanning, keying him so I’m not too worried about where he’s at, I know guys are going to be on him. I do need to hold the cadence and just go play ball.”
Pryor believes he’s a better thrower following a week’s work, without a day off to spell him. That will let go of his troubles and allow him to thrive.
“I know I’m better for having practiced and worked out last week,” Pryor said. “Troy is tough to deal with. I learned that by watching him in high school. I can’t let him or anybody else disrupt what I’m trying to do.”