QB Watch: Raiders' Terrelle Pryor

A weekly analysis of the Oakland Raiders' quarterback play.

Rewind: Terrelle Pryor termed his play “awful.” His coach would not go that far. And, really, Pryor was closer to revelation than reclamation in the Raiders’ 21-17 defeat at Indianapolis. He said the loss was on him, after throwing two red-zone interceptions and taking a costly sack. But were it not for his play-making skill set, Oakland would not have had a chance to win at all. And with his 112 yards on the ground, Pryor leads the AFC in rushing.

Fast-forward: The knock on Pryor was his downfield passing, as he completed just one of seven attempts of at least 20 yards. Might visiting Jacksonville provide a tonic, especially with first-year Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson having worked with the Jaguars last season? The Jags gave up but 173 yards through the air to Kansas City’s Alex Smith on Sunday, on 21 completions, so he averaged just 8.2 yards per. Pryor averaged 11.4 yards per completion against the Colts. Expect Olson to call more short passing plays, at least early, to get Pryor comfortable. Pryor can always take off and run if he doesn’t like what he sees.

Reading the zone read: Speaking of taking off, Pryor did just that every time the zone read was called against Indianapolis. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Pryor kept the ball on all five of the Raiders’ zone-read option calls, gaining 33 of his 112 rushing yards that way.

Prediction: The Jaguars, like the Colts, reside in the AFC South, meaning that there’s not a lot of familiarity there with running QBs and the zone-read option. So the play should be there for Pryor on Sunday. Expect Olson to use it, and the threat of Darren McFadden breaking a long run, to set up the play-action for deeper Pryor throws later in the game.