When it comes to the injury status, the Raiders coaches are hoping not to end up in a ‘fool me twice, shame on me' situation. Actually, at this point it could easily have been a ‘fool me thrice' situation. Either way, they are attempting to make absolute sure he is really, truly ready to go this Sunday and taking every precaution to protect themselves in case he isn't.
Last week against the Giants, there was absolutely no question Pryor was not 100%. He was nowhere near 100%, in fact. Pryor admitted as much after the game, saying he had a sprained MCL in his knee.
The problem is he was not saying the same thing to his coaches during the week. He said when he got the injury that it was no big deal and he practice full all week. Then come game day, he was wearing a brace and looked about as mobile as Robert Griffin III following his blown out knee last season.
Raiders offensive coordinator, Greg Olson, noticed very early in the game that something was definitely not right with Pryor.
"The first two times that we called the [quarterback run] plays, he got like nine yards on the first and ten on the second which normally you would think that's usually a 15 or 20 yard gain," said Olson. "From the sideline I thought maybe it was just the brace that maybe was slowing him down and he didn't give us any indication when he came out that it was bothersome."
This isn't the first time Pryor has been less than forthcoming about his injury status. He suffered a concussion in week three against the Broncos and by the end of the week, it appeared he was good to go for the week four game against the Redskins. Then the day before the game, he asked the equipment manager for a tinted visor. That would be light sensitivity which is very common concussion symptom.
The equipment manager did his job and informed Dennis Allen of Pryor's request and Allen made the snap decision to start Matt Flynn. Those are the kinds of decisions that should be made before the last minute for the sake of everyone on the team who has to prepare accordingly for two very different types of quarterbacks. Luckily for Terrelle Pryor, they caught it in time and didn't play Pryor and risk much more serious damage from a second concussion.
"As we keep going forward, again, with the concussion, you just have to gauge that with a young player that wants to play," said Greg Olson. "We just gotta be very careful about what he's telling us and what we're getting from the trainers."
The Raiders are again trying to judge Pryor's injury status and don't really feel like they can trust Pryor's word on the severity of his sprained knee. He was ineffective with it last week because a good portion of his game is his ability to escape the pocket.
"We didn't see a lot of limitation last week [in practice]," Olson continued. "It wasn't until he actually got out there on game day and as he relayed to us later, he kinda felt when he woke up that morning that for whatever reason it didn't feel as good as it had. He hadn't shared that and I wish he would have, but he's a competitor, wants to play. So, you watch him in practice, we ask him yesterday rest, today let's show us a little bit of explosiveness and let's see what you can do. You never put him out there live, obviously, but we'd like to see if he can run around and he ran around really well today."
Wednesday, with Pryor sitting out of practice, Matt McGloin took all the first team reps. Pryor returned to practice and he and McGloin shared those reps. Coach Olson said today that the intention is for the two of them to share reps again on Friday and the hope is they will be able to make their decision on who starts at that time.
"All you can do is watch practice and go with what you see on the practice field," said Dennis Allen. "So, we'll monitor him just like we do every week, see how he'd looking. If he looks like he's at full health then he'll be able to go. . . The decision's based totally on what we feel he's capable of doing."
Pryor's passion to tough it out and play is admirable but it has also made the coaches job a little more difficult in that they can't simply ask him if he is able to go and trust he will be give them an honest assessment. That's why they get paid the big bucks.