ALAMEDA — Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen doesn't need to play any games about who his starting quarterback will be this week.
Terrelle Pryor answered those questions in the season opener with his game-breaking running ability and vastly improved passing that almost helped Oakland pull off a shocker before losing 21-17 at Indianapolis.
After refusing to announce his starter last week for “competitive” reasons, Allen is all in with the dual-threat quarterback heading into Sunday's home opener against Jacksonville. Pryor spent most of training camp working with the backups while Matt Flynn ran with the first team.
“Pryor is going to start for us,” Allen said Monday.
For good reason.
Pryor completed 19 of 29 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown and set a Raiders franchise record for rushing by a quarterback with 112 yards on 13 carries. Pryor became the eighth quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw for at least 200 yards and run for at least 100 in a single game.
“That's the element that he brings to the game,” Allen said. “So, that's always going to be there, his ability to create, his ability to make things happen with his feet. The thing that we judge on the practice field is his ability to make good decisions, his ability to throw the ball on time, with accuracy. Those are things that we want to see that he continues to improve because that's what's going to make him a really good quarterback, is if he continues to improve in those areas.”
There are areas in the passing game that Pryor needs to work on still and he is quick to acknowledge them. Despite the gaudy numbers he put up, Pryor took the blame for the loss because of two interceptions and a bad sack he took in the final two minutes after he drove Oakland to the 8 on the potential game-winning drive.
That last-ditch chance ended on an interception on third-and-goal from the 24.