Of all the mistakes and gaffes that Terrelle Pryor made in the Oakland Raiders’ Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the quarterback’s inability to get the offense in and out of the huddle in a timely manner has to be the most troubling.
It’s been a major stumbling block for Pryor ever since he entered the NFL as a supplemental draft pick in 2011. It’s also one of the primary reasons the current coach staff wasn’t sure if he’d ever develop into a starter.
Pryor overcame a lot of his other problems to beat out Matt Flynn and two others for the job in training camp. He has emerged as one of the top running quarterbacks in the league, and although he had a terrible game against the Chiefs, the Raiders still favor him as their starting quarterback now and in the foreseeable future.
His issues with the play clock, however, remain a problem.
Oakland was hit with a pair of penalties for delay of game in the season-opening loss to Indianapolis. Pryor didn’t have any problems over the next three games, but they boiled back to the top again in the loss to the Chiefs.
The Raiders were hit with three delay of game penalties amid the thunderous crowd noise at Arrowhead Stadium, and they barely avoided picking up a handful more. The team also wasted at least one timeout as the clock was running down.
At one point during the television broadcast, former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon chided Pryor for not even looking at the play clock.
For his part, Oakland’s quarterback did not duck blame.
“I wasn’t getting the play called until about 15 seconds (remained), so when we got on the line...that stadium was very loud,” Pryor said. “We have to be better talking, communicating in the huddle, getting in and out. I thought we rushed a lot, and a lot of the things happened because we were rushing. That starts (with) me.”
Part of the problem, according to head coach Dennis Allen, is that Pryor’s running often leaves him scrambling to get back to the huddle in a timely fashion. That leads to him getting the play out later, which results in a hurried rush to the line of scrimmage or a penalty for delay.
Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson admitted to reporters that during the team’s Week 5 win over San Diego there were instances when he fully expected the offense to get dinged for delay of game because Pryor was so slow getting the play called.
“We’ve got to be faster than that,” Allen said. “We can’t have the delay of game penalties, the false starts that we had. We can’t burn timeouts because we can’t get the play called in the huddle and get that communicated. That’s one of the elementary things in football and we’ve got to be better at that.”
Thankfully for Pryor, the Raiders don’t have another road game that will present the same type of atmosphere as the record-seeking fans in Arrowhead.
Until he corrects the problem, Pryor can expect the criticism that followed him after the loss to the Chiefs to continue—even from his own coaches.
“Listen guys, that’s an area that we’ve talked about in the past and we still have some issues there,” Allen said. “We’ve got to continue to work to get that cleaned up.”
* All quotes and information in this report and any report by Michael Wagaman have been obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted