ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Terrelle Pryor admitted Tuesday that he was not sure he’d get another start at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders this season. So yeah, coach Dennis Allen telling him a day earlier that he’d start the Raiders’ season finale against the Denver Broncos caught him by surprise.
“Like I told you guys about a week ago, I’ve just been going in every day trying to get better, finding ways to get better [and] whatever happens, happens,” Pryor said. “That type of deal can kind of mess with you. You keep on thinking, ‘What if this happens?’
“Just work on your craft.”
While Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has already set a new single-season record for touchdown passes (51 and counting), he is also within 266 yards of setting a new mark for most passing yards in a season (Drew Brees currently holds the mark of 5,476 yards ).
Pryor, meanwhile, is on the cusp of a little franchise history himself. He needs just 3 yards rushing to set a new Raiders record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season and eclipse Rich Gannon’s mark of 529 rushing yards from 2000.
The last time Pryor faced the Broncos, on Sept. 23, he rushed for 36 yards on four carries … but also suffered a concussion on a legal helmet-to-helmet hit (within the tackle box) from Wesley Woodyard.
Does Denver look different three-plus months later?
“No, not really because Von Miller is out [and] he didn’t play the first game,” Pryor said. “I believe Champ [Bailey] is going in and out of the slot and nickel package. We just have to play a perfect game. We’ve got to move the ball. Time of possession is going to be huge -- not turn the ball over.
“We’re playing against the best quarterback in the league, in league history almost, I’m pretty sure. So we’ve just got to control the ball and take advantage.”
Still, you have to wonder if Pryor can compartmentalize any lingering frustration he may have over the Raiders going with Matt McGloin the past six weeks, particularly after Pryor was, in his estimation, healthy enough to play.
“That’s a good question,” Pryor said Tuesday. “I guess you’ve just got to -- and this is how I’m going to go about it -- we had a very, very solid practice today. I thought the guys were focused, and we’ve just got to lean on each other. It’s going to be a deal where we need to all understand that we need to respect the ball. We need to convert on third downs, and their defense is pretty good.
“We just have to have a total team game, and offensively we have to be very sharp. That starts with me getting in and out of the huddle and commanding and getting the guys in the spots they’ve got to be in and throwing the ball with accuracy. So that starts with me, and the rest is just going to be us. We have to do this together.”