Allen: Pryor not ready to be backup quarterback yet

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Allen: Pryor not ready to be backup quarterback yet

CHARLOTTE -- All season long, Terrelle Pryor has played the role of good soldier.

The third-string quarterback has said the right things about biding his time, about learning at the knee of Carson Palmer, about waiting for his time to come and not being impatient or frustrated.

But after Palmer was knocked out in the first quarter, Matt Leinart was uneven and Pryor was used as a wrinkle three times in the Raiders' 17-6 loss to Carolina Sunday, might Pryor have shown a glimpse of his true feelings?

Pryor, who simulated Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton on scout team, was actually downgraded in practice this week.

Asked about playing, Pryor was tight-lipped: "It's just playing football, you know? It's what I've been playing my whole life. It's something I like to do."

On what his plays showed: "I just do what I'm asked to do and that's it. Whatever I show, I show."

On if he thought he should have been used more: "I'm just a player. I don't have any expertise in coaching."

On if he expects to play more next week: "Not sure. I know I played three decent plays, but I didn't play a lot."

On how he seemed more upset than usual: "I'm upset that we lost. I think we should have won and more plays we could have made. But it's the game of football. They get paid just like us. Hats off to them. We'll go in next week and do the same thing and get back to week."

On potentially seeing more playing time: "Like I said, I'm not the coach. I definitely don't make decisions like that. I don't talk much, I just go out and do my job. Whatever God has for me, it's going to happen. If not, I'll be fine."

Pryor was not surly, but close, and it was obvious from his tone that he wanted to be anywhere else. And really, could you blame him?

In his mind -- and in the mind of his growing legion of supporters -- he probably felt he could have helped the Raiders more had he been on the field for more than three plays.

On his first play, which was the Raiders' second play from scrimmage, he lined up in the Wildcat, took the direct snap and passed the ball out to Palmer on the right. Palmer quickly threw back to Pryor, who scooted 22 yards upfield.

On his second play, early in the second quarter, Pryor took the direct snap from the Panthers' 9-yard line on second-and-8, and while it appeared to be a read-option, Pryor kept the ball all the way and ran up the middle for a two-yard gain.

And on his third play, early in the fourth quarter, and with the Raiders at the Panthers' 8-yard line on first-and-goal, Pryor lofted a pass to Marcel Reece, who was pushed out of bounds at the 3-yard line.

That was it. And if you thought Pryor should have seen more time…

"Matt's our back-up quarterback," said coach Dennis Allen. "Terrelle's done a nice job. He's working extremely hard. We don't feel like he's ready to be the backup quarterback yet, and we feel like Matt would give us the best chance."

And there it is.

We don't feel like he's ready...yet.

"Although, we feel like using Terrelle in some of the packages and some of the things like we did with him today -- the pass down there in the red zone, also the throw-back screen to start the game off (on) the second play of the game -- I mean, those are some of the things that we feel like we can use him in right now," Allen added, "until he develops even more as a quarterback."

Perhaps Pryor seeing Cam Newton run the Panthers' offense gave him a bigger sense of self? And really, on the flip side of that coin, maybe Pryor could have thrown just as ugly an interception as Leinart did late in the second quarter.

And if Pryor is not ready, how does he get ready in a lost season with one game to go unless he gets to play?

Or, he must really be bad to not get into this kind of game that screamed for a spark, any spark, to get the offense going.

Then there's this -- Pryor only has a handful of plays at his disposal, and they are "specialized" wrinkles, not the full playbook, whereas Leinart has not only knowledge of said playbook, but also the trust of the coaching staff.

And oh yeah, there was that whole bit about Pryor being downgraded this week, too.

Inactives: Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele a late scratch due to illness

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USATSI

Inactives: Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele a late scratch due to illness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele was questionable to play Thursday night’s game at Kansas City with a knee sprain.

His knee is doing just fine, thank you.

Even still, Osemele wasn’t ready to play. He was a late scratch due to an illness, which sapped him to the point he couldn’t go.

Osemele was listed about the Raiders inactives, announced shortly before kickoff.

That creates a huge void in the offensive line – the Raiders run best between Osemele and left tackle Donald Penn – that will be filled by rookie Vadal Alexander.

Alexander is an aggressive player and a good run blocker, but he isn’t on Osemele’s level. Not having the high-priced player could hinder the Raiders offensive line, which must remain strong for the attack to operate well. The Raiders have allowed a league-low 13 sacks this season. 

Defensive tackle Darius Latham was questionable with an ankle injury, but wasn’t quite ready to play this game. This marks his second contest missed with injury.

Strong safety Karl Joseph was ruled out earlier in the week with a toe injury. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton, Shilique Calhoun, Connor Cook and Stacy McGee are also inactive.

Raiders 'don't mind tough things,' ready for adverse conditions vs Chiefs

Raiders 'don't mind tough things,' ready for adverse conditions vs Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Arrowhead Stadium has literally become a frozen tundra. Heaters under the playing surface malfunctioned on Wednesday night, allowing a layer of ice to form under the tarp in below freezing temperatures.

That information comes courtesy of an NFL Network reporter on site Thursday morning in advance of an evening showdown between the rival Raiders and Chiefs.

The field is expected to thaw by kickoff, but any remaining ice patch would add to the adversity facing the Silver and Black in a pivotal AFC West showdown.

They are the only NFL team to travel more than one time zone to play on “Thursday Night Football,” adding another wrinkle to a game that deserves to be played on regular rest. Instead teams will square off in a made-for-TV event without much time to prepare

Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio could’ve griped about an adverse lot, but he refused to line up reasons why his team might not play well.

“We’re going to be excited to play,” Del Rio said. “It’s a tough set of circumstances. We don’t mind tough things. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Beating the Chiefs is a daunting task. The Raiders weren’t up to it earlier this year, when Kansas City came to Oakland and made it their home. The Raiders must even the score or find themselves in a bind. Kansas City would own the divisional tiebreaker with three games remaining, and would be in great position to win the AFC West.

The Chiefs have been Raiders kryptonite in recent seasons. They have won six of seven matchups, a trend the Raiders hope to buck on Thursday night.

“Everyone mentions, ‘They’ve beaten you this many times,’ and these things and all of that,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “When I’m preparing for these guys, it never goes through my head. That stuff never has a determining factor on anything I write down, anything that goes on in my brain or anything like that. I just prepare for them just like I do any other game. I prepare for them the same way that I do for everybody. I’m going to go out there, and I’m looking forward to competing against them though this time.”

Carr won’t compete from under center. The Raiders will stay in shotgun and pistol formations for a second straight week to protect a right pinky finger dislocated in two places against the Carolina Panthers. That shouldn’t limit them much, though it makes life harder on the run game.

The Raiders performed pretty well on the ground against Buffalo, totaling 139 yards on 32 carries. Latavius Murray led that effort, with 82 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

Murray missed the last game against Kansas City with turf toe, but will be ready to take a heavy load this time around. He has been taking more carries over the last month, with a previously equal running back rotation now shading his way. Murray should be a play a big role in this contest, which should come down to the fourth quarter.

“The Chiefs are a rival that we’ve struggled with,” Murray said. “We know what’s at stake for this season. They stand in the way of our goal of winning the division. We need to take care of them.”

The Raiders must take care of Kansas City on a short week, in loud, hostile environment. Oh, and in the bitter cold. It’s expected to be 20 degrees at kickoff, with wind coursing through Arrowhead Stadium.

The Raiders don’t mind that either. They’re 6-0 in games away from Oakland Coliseum, and are confident they can overcome adversity this particular game presents.

“You just have to get your mind right and go play,” Del Rio said. “We’ll be ready to go. We have a good group of guys. Feel like we’re weather proof. We’ll go play.”