Dear Mr. Allen,
I understand why Pryor hasn’t been active until late in the season – I really do. I know you were saddled with him after the Raiders gave up a pick in the 3rd round for him and while he’s just the kind of guy that Al Davis liked – big, strong, fast and extremely athletic – he’s incredibly unpolished.
I know you likely don’t think he’s the future of the franchise. I know you’re more worried about winning your fourth game than you are developing a young guy like Pryor who you doubt will ever develop into a starting QB. I know that your coaching seat is hotter right now than you ever imagined it would be in your first season taking over a team that admittedly had a lot of issues before you got there.
Look, I understand all that and I sympathize with you –we all have employees, coworkers or superiors that we think only got the job because someone made a mistake when hiring (or in this case drafting) them. And I have my own reservations about Pryor’s future to be honest. I mean, he lacks accuracy on many of his passes which is really a fundamental necessity for an NFL Quarterback.
But at this point you have nothing to lose playing him. I mean the Raiders are not going to make playoffs this year. At this point I’m not even sure you could win enough to make it out of the top 10 in the draft. And does 5-11 really sound that much better to you than 3-13?
We know what we have in Carson Palmer: a good leader, a guy that can make all the necessary throws but also throws backbreaking interceptions and isn’t good enough to put the team on his back and make up for his surrounding deficiencies.
We don’t know what we have in Pryor. You probably feel like you do – after all you see him in practice every day. I’m sure you feel that you have a pretty good bead on what he can do. The thing about practice, though, is that you never really know what a guy is going to do until it’s a game time situation.
There are some guys that look great in practice. They know their position, they have the athleticism to make plays and they understand their role on the team. And yet, when the game is on the line they cannot rise to the occasion. The game grows too big for them.
Other players grow with the game. When the game is close and the final seconds are upon them, these players want the ball – they have the will and desire to win and they find ways to make plays.
We don’t know which of these players Pryor is, yet. We can get some sense of how players are in college but we can’t really know how players will react at the highest level until they are there, surrounded by their peers. It’s what makes the draft the crapshoot that it is.
For example, it looked like JaMarcus Russell was going to be made of sterner stuff than he proved to be. He had some great victories at LSU and made some fantastic plays to lead his players to victory.
Except, as it turns out, that may have had more to do with the players around him and their level of play elevating his than the other way around. The players’ skill levels are much more even in the NFL and sometimes the desire to be great and win is more important than if that player is completely accurate when he throws the ball.
As I said, Mr. Allen, I have my doubts about Pryor. I think he’ll probably not prove to be a great return on investment for the Silver & Black and that his struggles with accuracy will make him a fan target instead of a fan-favorite very quickly.
But until he gets some time to show his worth we’ll never really know. You’ve indicated you understand this by mentioning the importance of getting Pryor and other young players playing time in order to evaluate them for next year. You’ve done a good job with getting more time for many of the young players like Bergstrom, Bilukidi, Streater and Criner.
But for some reason you have resisted letting Pryor get any playing time. And this with the Raiders having lost their last 6 games by an amazingly bad combined 96 points.
There is no better time than now, Mr. Allen. Put Pryor in, let him get a good amount of time so we know what we have in this young man and so we can appropriately plan for the future of the franchise.
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