Cutting to the chase this week.
#1 - QB
Many here have bemoaned DA and his hatred of Pryor but no matter how you slice it DA started Pryor over Flynn and kept him in there until he:
A. Severely regressed
B. Was injured
C. Lied about his physical readiness and cost us a game
I do not believe the bias argument as DA gave Pryor plenty of chances to straighten up after his lost it in KC and now he's giving him one more HUGE opportunity to show he can be the guy. I honestly believe if he really hated Pryor he would have set him on the pine and left him there. I'm taking DA at his word, he's trying to figure out if either of these two guys are our QB of the future. I believe he thinks Pryor may have more upside in the long run but needs to know if he can find his way back to the QB he was in September. This is moment Pryor can answer that question. If he comes out and is competitive, doesn't throw stupid picks, cost us TO's to avoid DOG flags and doesn't give up 7 sacks due to his circular ballet stuff then he has, IMO, a legit shot to come back and earn the starter's gig next season. I said last week that McGloin had to step up against KC and prove he could do better, he failed. In lieu of this it makes perfect sense to give the last shot to Pryor who's earned it with his maturity throughout this QB switcharoo.
I seriously doubt that this new regime wants to draft another QB and will look for any inkling that either or both of these guys can continue to grow as NFL QB's. Pryor is getting his fair shake behind a supposed better OL (Although I'm not sure I believe the OL is THAT much better) and I think we'll definitively know if he's a better option after this game. I don't think it's make or break for him though unless he's epically bad and if he's good again then we really will have a QB battle next off season.
Bottom line - after this game all questions about MM & TP should be answered.
#2 - The staff
So many questions here? Is DA and his staff in or out? If out, is Gruden in? If not Gruden then who? Does continuity play into any of this? If DA was indeed a stop gap why would he go along for 2 years without a year 3? Tarver & Olson recently weighed in and seem to think this was an impossible task for any coach. I tend to agree but how much of Al is in MD? That's the only question that needs to be answered.
I've said repeatedly now that the only solid reason to let DA go is if you're replacing him with an established winner who'll bring instant rep and credibility and a more experienced staff. If you can't do that then there's no reason to change anything.
I honestly have no idea how this will shake out but I worry that the wrong choice will be made and we'll be worse off for the long run and worse yet, we'll be no different in the eyes of future coaches than we were with Al. This is a fine line we're walking here and the last thing we want to do is inform the league that we haven't changed in terms of coaching impatience. If we screw this up that's what everyone will think and assume going forward. That would be the worse thing that could happen IMO as it would affect us for long time.
#3 The players
We must take into consideration the team that's begun to be built here as well as some of the successful FA's additions we've added. In order to attract impact types we must have something good to sell, continuity, a solid nucleus to add to, a brand new approach, etc. This is why it's so important not to screw up #2 IMO, if we keep DA we can sell continuity and a belief that the front office and ownership has a plan they're sticking to, if we bring in a proven winner of a HC then we can sell a brand new approach with an experienced staff and a winner. Both of these roads lead to landing the kind of players we desperately need on our team. That being said, we don't have to go crazy. One player on each side of the ball would make a world of difference in improving both our offense and defense.
The players we decide to pay and keep are almost equally as important IMO. Keep the right ones and we keep moving in the right direction. Too many times in the last few years we've lost the guys that made us better and been forced to trot out lesser skill players or find surprise players in their stead. I don't know about you but I'd like to see us become a hot spot for skill players, not the place those players leave.
This part of the rebuild is key as won't be paying top dollar anymore and I'm ok with that but we need to make sure we retain the players worth keeping and that task starts now with Houston & Veldheer.
Well that's all I've got as we wind down the last deconstruction year in Raiderland. I look forward to Pryor stepping up hopefully (I'd really love nothing more honestly) and ending the season on a positive note. I said last off season that it was going to be very interesting but I feel like this off season will prove even more so and whether you like the new regime or not, one thing's for sure, they're not dull.