ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Speaking publicly for the first time since Nov. 20 -- and only for the second time since he was replaced as the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback -- Terrelle Pryor broached several topics in a wide-ranging interview with reporters that lasted nearly 10 minutes Friday.
And while Pryor continued to profess his desire to be a good teammate and improve as a player, he seemed to be more accepting of his new role than truly embracing being behind Matt McGloin on the depth chart.
Pryor started eight of the Raiders' first nine games, missing the Washington loss with a concussion suffered the week before and going 3-5. He was not the same in the New York Giants game on Nov. 10 and said after the loss he was playing on a sprained MCL in his right knee.
He did not play again until last weekend. A sampling, then, of Pryor's Q&A:
On how much extra effort he put into his one series against the New York Jets since he knew it would be his only time on the field: "There were a couple plays I wish I had back because I was kind of getting greedy trying to make a play because I didn't know if I was going to play again the rest of the game. You just try to go and run the play as proper as it's supposed to be played and let it play out. It was safe throws, safe things I was thinking but there's definitely in the back of your mind you want to make a play to help the team and that's your chance right there. So you also have to fight that urge not to make a mistake as well by trying too hard."
On how he can judge if he's getting better if he's not playing in games: "That's very true. At the end of the day your experience comes from playing. That's how you get better, I believe. While Matt's taking his reps I'm in the back acting like I'm under the center taking the reps. I'm still getting the reps, all the reps that he's getting but he's taking them physically against the defense and I'm back there mentally going through the same progression and working through the progression. That's the things that I've got to work on and that's what I'm working on."
On if it was tough that he lost his job after getting hurt: "That's Coach [Dennis] Allen's deal. I respect Coach Allen, I respect his decisions. As a team, I know everybody in here respects his decision. Whatever his decision is, that's what it was. I could sit here and say I disagree and this and that but at the end of the day he's our leader and he's the one that has to make those tough decisions. He made it and that's what it is, you know?"
On if he views his current situation as a career setback: "No, not at all. I don't. I look at it as an opportunity to find a way to lead in a different way. Right now I'm not playing, obviously. But what's that going to determine, my failure or success? I was hurt in the New York Giants game and couldn't exactly be myself, I come back and somebody else is starting. No, it's just push forward and find ways to get better. You could always your head down and cry and whine about it and talk behind everyone's back about it and be very negative but there's another way. It's an opportunity for me to be a leader in a different way of not playing and try to grasp guys and teach guys. That's how I'm going about it and that's probably the only way I can right now. That's how."
On if he feels like he has to continually prove himself to this organization: "You know, I'm just going to keep getting better and that's all I can control. You guys can definitely write for me what you want and what you guys think. Every single day, whether I believe if you're one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL, you've got to prove yourself every day. There's never a day off and there's never a day where you say, I'm going to take a rest here. You've always got to try to improve every day because there's someone out there trying to improve and whether you see it or not someone's trying to take your spot. That's where it's at at the end of the day. You've just got to work your butt off and control what you can control. That's ... all I can do right now."
On if he was surprised he lost his job: "I don't call it 'lost a job.' I got hurt, he came in a played well. I don't call it lost my job. But, you know, did he end up playing well and he's playing good and he's helping the team? However you want to call it."
On if he thinks it's odd the team said it wanted to grow with him earlier in the season but it did not happen: "Again, with this franchise, it's a great franchise, but at the end of the day it's something I can't control. I can't give my input. That's up to Mr. [Mark] Davis and [general manager Reggie] McKenzie, that's up to Coach Allen right now."
On how he would characterize the season thus far: "I just look at it as another experience, you know? Did I make some bad plays or throw interceptions at bad spots or difficult times in a game? Yeah. Who hasn't? I just think it's a sense of learning and understanding the situations in games. Have I made plays? Absolutely. It comes hand in hand. You just keep experiencing and you keep learning and you try not to make the mistakes but they happen. You just want to take whatever happened on that time, whether it was a read or something and just try to ... not to do that again."