In the past couple weeks, the Raiders have been trying to find way to get Terrelle Pyor in the game. Two weeks ago he got the entire third series of the game and drove the team into field goal range. Last week he got in for a partial drive and a few other plays as well - a total of 14 snaps.
While Pryor and the offense didn't do much in those 14 plays - one completion for 12 yards, 3 runs for 19 yards, and 1 interception - Raiders' offensive coordinator, Greg Olson says the value in Pryor's occasional insertion into the game is more than what happens while Pryor is on the field.
"Well we always talk about, how we get them to burn chalk or burn discussions on their sideline," said Olson. "Are they trying to go over the Terrelle Pryor plays, and that's happened at halftime for other teams previously. Any time you can distract them and get them working on other problems, or trying to fix other problems, then it's now allowing them to focus in really on just your base game plan or your base run game plan. That has something to do with it."
It can be hard to really quantify exactly how Pryor's presence affects the opposing defensive coaches. The Raiders scored a then season best 28 points in a win over the Texans - the top rated defense in the NFL at the time -- in Matt McGloin's first start while Pryor was out injured. Then last week they had their best scoring game of the season with 31 points against the Chiefs' top defense. And if they could have managed not to turn the ball over seven times, it's possible they could have scored even more points.
We do know that when Pryor was in the game in the third quarter, Rashad Jennings had his longest run of the game. It came on a read option in which Pryor pulled some of the defensive attention to him running right while Jennings ran it up the middle. Then Matt McGloin came back in and in three plays threw a 28-yard completion and a 14-yard touchdown pass.
When Olson said "that's happened at half time for other teams", he was talking about the Jets game when the offense with McGloin at quarterback, didn't get going until the second half and then scored on every drive in the second half.
So, maybe there is something to what Olson says.
Then again, for every example that works in favor of this theory, there's one that works against it. Pryor came in for one snap early in the Chiefs game and was tackled for a three-yard loss. Then McGloin failed to convert the next three third down attempts. The previous week when Pryor was given his full drive, McGloin came back out and threw an interception in the shadow of his own endzone and couldn't get the offense going the rest of the first half.
As with any theory, you need to prove it by seeing it at least three times. Once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, thrice is a pattern. Olson is hoping to see a pattern, otherwise his theory is little more than a hope.