Quarterback Terrelle Pryor showed a lot of upside in his start against the Chargers last season. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Wide receiver Jacoby Ford has only been in the NFL three years since being drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round out of Clemson in 2010.
But in that short span, he’s played for three head coaches (Tom Cable, Hue Jackson and Dennis Allen) and seen two starting quarterbacks (Jason Campbell and Carson Palmer) leave. So, with all the turnover the Raiders have had Ford now ranks as a veteran. And with the eyes of experience, he likes what he sees from quarterback Terrelle Pryor in offseason workouts.
Though the Raiders have traded for quarterback Matt Flynn from the Seahawks, who’s now presumed to be the front-runner to start in 2013, the team has said Pryor will get a chance to compete for the job. General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen have said there will be an "open competition."
And Ford believes Pryor is showing his teammates he has what it takes to win the job.
“His demeanor, his mechanics, how he’s handling himself,” Ford said Thursday to the Raiders website. “Just how he’s throwing the ball. You can definitely tell that he wants it. That’s what you want out of a young quarterback like that. He’s hungry. He’s been waiting for his chance. This is his chance now to go out there and compete.”
Pryor, in the Bay Area for the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, met with reporters Thursday and said “I have to battle” for the quarterback job.
Pryor has been working this offseason with some of the team’s receivers, reports Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group, and has been trying to refine his techniques and passing accuracy with the help of Raiders coaches.
“I’m trying to find a way to get better every day, through mechanics, through being sharper on pinpoint accuracy,” Pryor told Corkran. “I take those things serious to get better and just for the team overall. I haven’t taken a break and probably won’t.”
Pryor is coming off his first NFL regular-season start, the final game of 2012, when he showed both good and bad in a 24-21 loss to the Chargers.
Pryor was 13-of-28 passing for 150 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and rushed for 49 yards on nine carries.
After that game, McKenzie said he was pleased with the way Pryor protected the football and “gave himself a chance to finish plays.”
Said Allen: “He did some good things. Obviously there’s still some work to be done.”
Many NFL analysts this offseason have cast doubt on Pryor’s readiness to be Oakland’s starting quarterback and given Flynn a big edge in the competition.
Pryor, however, says he welcomes the challenge.
“Like coach (Allen) says, ‘Cream rises to the top, no matter what. No matter what the position, everyone is going to battle.’ … We need to compete,” Pryor told reporters. “By competing you bring out the best in everybody.”