California Dreamin’: Imagine Pryor running Kelly’s offense
Raiders QB is something special
Imagine Terrelle Pryor running the Eagles’ new up-tempo offense under Chip Kelly. The kid from outside Pittsburgh has the speed of a young Mike Vick, combined with the size of an NBA power forward and a rocket arm.
Keep dreaming because Pryor has emerged as the Raiders’ starting quarterback, potentially a franchise-changing player. But there was a day when Kelly himself imagined Pryor running his offense. Kelly tried to recruit him pretty heavily at Oregon and flew out to Pryor’s high school to watch him play. He just couldn’t convince him to leave the East Coast.
“I think the first thing that will strike you when you see him is just actually how big he is,” said Kelly, who compared him to Cam Newton. “When you see him, you look like you’re looking at a defensive end.”
But, like Newton, don’t let Pryor’s measurements fool you. He is as quick as they come in this league, as evidenced by his 93-yard run last week, the longest run for a quarterback in NFL history. He makes quick decisions, too. That run came on the very first play from scrimmage.
“You can see him gaining more confidence each week,” Kelly said. “I think the one threat he’s always had is his ability to kind of take the ball, and tuck it and run … when he escapes, it might not be a six-yard gain, it could be a 60-yard gain with the type of wheels he has.”
Obviously, the Eagles aren’t giving away any part of their defensive gameplan. However, linebacker Mychal Kendricks promised the team has prepared for “everything.” If there is one guy that could potentially keep up with Pryor, it has to be Kendricks.
When Pryor was told by reporters that the Eagles might use Kendricks to “spy” him, the quarterback already knew it. He rattled off Kendrick’s 40-yard dash time at the 2012 NFL Combine (4.47) then reminded everyone that his personal best was 4.35.
Kendrick wasn’t surprised.
“He should [know that] because I’m a dangerous man,” Kendricks said laughing. “No, I know what he ran to. He’s a fast guy, good quarterback, and I’m looking forward to it. He’s a dual-threat quarterback, and they got [Darren] McFadden back there who has a great capability of doing that and throwing passes as well.”
Pryor not impressed with Kelly’s offense?
Terrelle Pryor was recruited heavily by Chip Kelly at Orgeon, but the quarterback ultimately chose to stay closer to home. While he cited being closer to his family as the main reason for not heading out to the West Coast, he also felt that playing in Kelly’s system might hinder his NFL future.
“How many quarterbacks have they developed that have made it to the league? How is their offense run?” Pryor told Bay Area reporters. “You don’t see a lot of quarterbacks from their system make it into the NFL because of their style of play versus the style of the NFL. You don’t learn how to drop back and run plays, you just look at the sideline and learn.
“I came from a high school like that, so I had to make a grown-man decision when I was 18 and go to Ohio State because they had a lot of pro-style stuff and protection stuff that I knew I had to get caught up on. So, that’s why I made that decision.”
Three Things To Watch: Eagles vs. Raiders
1. Triple threat. Terrelle Pryor is a dual-threat with his feet and arm, but he’s not the only hybrid-type player on the roster. Starting tailback Darren McFadden can also beat teams with his legs and arm. McFadden threw seven touchdowns in three years at Arkansas, and threw one in Week 3 against Denver.
2. Getting Shady. LeSean McCoy, who still leads the NFL in rushing yards (733), hasn’t had a 100-yard game since Oct. 13. As much as the Eagles deny it, the lack of a read-option threat at quarterback is hurting the running game. Nick Foles has to at least try and pull it down once in awhile to keep the defense honest.
3. Digging out of the Black Hole. The Eagles will be making just their third trip to Oakland’s infamous “Black Hole” — unless you count a trip to Los Angeles. The Eagles are 0-for-2 there, losing in 1995 and 2009. The overall series is tied at 5-5, including the loss in Super Bowl XV.