With the starters playing more snaps in the third preseason game for the Raiders, one would have thought that all eyes would be directed there. But that didn't end up being the case. As Carson Palmer has coined: "It's TP time."
That TP of whom he is referring is Terrelle Pryor who took over the game for the Raiders. He had been working with the second team all week with Matt Leinart not playing due to a lacerated finger he suffered in last week's game.
I felt real comfortable because when I was with the [third team unit] I would get like 10 plays in practice. That's not really enough for me that I can really get the feel for it. They say that you win games in practice, and I wasn't winning in practice with 10 plays, it's impossible. I'm not really getting the feel for the exact plays that I'm going to be running whereas this week I kind of did. It was good to get extra reps behind Carson. It was great"
Pryor took his new reps and made the most out of them. He finished the game with three completions for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran five times for 90 yards and a touchdown. His rushing touchdown finished off a drive in which he had a 59 yard run and two plays later, finished with a 17 yard touchdown run.
This performance comes out of nowhere after Pryor's abysmal performances in the first two preseason games. Pryor says it has everything to do with his presence in the huddle.
"I think the biggest thing was [my] time management. The first thing that my coach, Flip (John DeFilippo), said when I got upstairs was ‘man, your huddle presence was 200,000% time better.' I think that was the biggest thing that helped me was that I could get out earlier. I could get out and see the defense and break down the possibilities of what the defense could Possibly be rather than running up to the huddle and having seven seconds left and I've got to snap the ball. So I think that's the biggest thing."
Even with Pyror noticing the differences in his own presence in the huddle, he still was not very excited about his performance. He had two touchdown passes in the game, both to Juron Criner. After the game he said both were bad passes.
He is not completely off base in that criticism of his play. The first pass was underthrown and required a great leaping grab by Criner to get it. However, with Criner's specialty being leaping balls in coverage, he could just as easily have planned the throw to be there knowing the rookie receiver would make the play.
The second TD had Criner reaching a bit and making a nice fingertip grab. But it was only slightly long and didn't require Criner to lay out for it. He stumbled a bit but kept his feet and ran the rest of the way for the score.
This was definitely a coming out part for Pryor. It may just have the coaches considering putting in some TP specialty plays in for him during the season.
We will see what Pryor does for an encore in the Raiders final preseason game in Seattle next week. Until then, he deserves to ride high.