USA TODAY Sports
With the last game of the season the Raiders solidified their draft position for the 3rd pick in the draft and showed the world that Terrelle Pryor does have something to offer the National Football League. Thank goodness this wreck of a season has concluded.
With a 24-21 loss to the Chargers this wretched season is officially over and will be but a footnote in the history books. There will be little talked about from this season to the kids and grandchildren too young to remember it or even yet to be born. Those of us who had to go through the season of 2012 will mostly just grunt in acknowledgment that yes we did watch it and no we are not really interested in reminiscing.
Before the days where we get to blissfully forget about the awfulness of this season comes a good while of deliberating about what we just had to endure will have to come first. The holes in the team, the deficiencies in coaching, the ridiculously predictable play calling and one of the best running backs in football being relegated to no better stats than an average back up. However we did get one thing, and that was a glimpse at a much anticipated and much debated player in Terrelle Pryor.
His game was by no means perfect but he played well and it was exciting. He showed he can hang with the big boys even if he definitely still needs refining. He also showed without a doubt that he should have had packages for him made throughout the season. He is hungry, attentive, athletic and had great leadership and poise in moments of strong frustration. For the first time ever, I actually believe that Terrelle Pryor can be an NFL Quarterback and there is a chance that he could be the future starter of the Oakland Raiders.
Ironically his play actually increased the chances of Carson Palmer being retained next year. Carson had an up and down year with a boatload of stats but not very many wins. He definitely played better than most people give him credit for considering the boring offense he was forced to play in. Whether he is going to be kept for next year is still in question, but I think the way Pryor played helped make Carson more valuable.
Pryor could use one more year of sitting and learning behind Palmer but once he is ready he will play well. His play in San Diego showed a player that has to continue to refine his mechanics but is learning and has natural skill that you can't teach. He might get a chance to win the starting job next year in training camp if he has a great off-season, but I doubt he will win the job. One more year of waiting will do him good and then he will be ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Rod Streater had a very nice game to finish out the season. His 4 catches for 77 yards led the team against the Chargers and it was really nice to see a rookie performing well still at the end of the year. Streater came out of no where to become a real asset to the passing game, hopefully he doesn't follow recent Raider tradition by falling off the planet after a good rookie season.
As for Darren McFadden he finished the year just like he played all season, not well. The Raiders tried to give him the ball a lot but with his 19 carries DMC finished with only 57 yards. Terrelle Pyor almost matched him on only 9 carries that he took for 49 yards. It was a sad finish for DMC, Greg Knapp is officially fired so that maybe a new OC will come in and increase McFadden's chances of staying a Raider. If his status was in question in the front office Darren certainly did not give them anything to change their minds.
The defense actually finished out the year well which is great. After an awful year for the most part their last quarter of the year they actually played pretty good football. Even in this game they played well enough to win if it hadn't been for terrible special teams play that allowed a TD return on the opening kickoff. That was the last straw for Steve Hoffman the Special Teams coach who was has also been released of his duties.
Next year can't come soon enough on one hand and on the other hand a nice break might be good for the psyche. I am always a little sad when the season ends because of how long it takes for next year to come but maybe we could all use a little break. This year was terrible, many saw it coming but I argued about it like I always do. It's over now along with the reign of terror by Greg Knapp so next season is already looking brighter!