Pryor channeling his inner Newton


Pryor channeling his inner Newton

Really, with his blend of size, speed and athleticism, you could say no one in the NFL compares to the pure, raw unadulterated talent that is Carolina's self-described "entertainer and icon" -- the Panthers' quarterback, Cam Newton.

Unless you do a double-take in the Raiders' locker room.

"We've got the closest guy here," running back Mike Goodson, a former teammate of Newton, said with a gap-toothed Cheshire Cat grin this week. "Terrelle Pryor. We've got the closest guy to him, I think."

So yes, starring as Newton for the Raiders' scout team this week…the most enigmatic player on the Raiders' roster. Pryor was asked Thursday if his game resembled that of Newton.

"Athleticism definitely," Pryor said. "I’ve seen a lot of Cam and I’m sure he’s watched or seen me somewhere. Even back when we were coming into the NFL, we exchanged text messages and stuff like that. He’s a great guy, athletic, just like myself. The offense is broken down pretty good from him to have real success. He has a gun (for an arm) and he’s playing well too."

Pryor, though, is ensconced as the Raiders' third-string quarterback, behind starter Carson Palmer and backup Matt Leinart. Pryor made his 2012 season debut last week against Kansas City, handing off twice and throwing an incompletion.

His supporters say his skill set closely resembles not only that of Newton, but the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick, let alone the New York Jets' polarizing Tim Tebow. And with the success of those first two guys this season, why not cut Pryor loose, right?

Just don't expect Pryor to bite.

"At the end of the day, when it’s time for me and I really get a lot of reps and get comfortable, I’ll have success," Pryor said. "I really, truly believe that. Right now, I’m just waiting. Right now, I don’t want to compare myself to Kaepernick or Cam or any of those guys because them guys and (Robert) Griffin (III) have proved it. I haven’t proved anything. I can’t really say I’d be like them.

"I don’t know what I’m going to be like because I haven’t even played yet. I can tell from practice and certain  plays that they run and certain plays that I run, I could tell I can do that in practice. (But) it’s not when people are watching, so I can’t really compare myself to them."

Instead, he's the Raiders' Rich Little, er, Frank Caliendo this week. It's almost, Pryor admitted, as if he is channeling Newton's train of thought.

"Yeah, just from some of that zone-read stuff, I’m just trying to teach them a little bit," Pryor said. "If they keep to their keys...they’ll be good. But if he gets to the edge and he gets to the secondary, that’s one of the problems. I’m trying to help them to the most of my ability. He’s going to make plays because he’s a great quarterback and athlete.

"We have to minimize it as much as possible and I’m trying to help as much as I can."

Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'


Carr excited to work with Gruden: 'I want him to be tough on me'

Jon Gruden has been interviewed several times since becoming Raiders head coach. Quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t listened to most of those sessions, and certainly doesn’t seek them out.

One landed in Carr’s inbox recently, and something Gruden said really resonated.

Gruden’s message, paraphrased: If Derek Carr is not successful, then I’ve failed as a coach.

There are two comments in that one. Gruden considers Carr extremely talented, and he’s taking responsibility for unlocking the quarterback's vast potential.

Gruden will be hands on in Carr’s development, with all the coaching intensity and fire and eyebrow raises that have become Gruden’s signature.

“He’s going to demand of me. He’s going to push me,” Carr said on this week’s episode of the Raiders Insider Podcast, which will drop Tuesday morning (Subcribe right here). “He’s going to make me be the best version of myself.”

Carr had a direct answer to skeptics wondering aloud whether he can thrive under Gruden’s particular coaching style.

“I want him to be tough on me,” Carr said. “For anyone who thinks I want him to be a different way has no clue about me or how I play football or how I prepare to play this game. I don’t need to tell stories about how I prepare or manage myself.

“(Jon) and I are going to get along great. I hope that he demands of me. I hope he’s hard on me. I don’t need to know he loves me. He has already told me that about 20 times. I appreciate that and we’ll be friends forever, but I know he’ll be demanding and tell me what I need to do. Let’s go fix problems that I have and let’s do what I need to do to win championships. Hopefully that will give people some insight and hopefully that’s the story that gets out, because that’s the truth.”

Carr met his new head coach briefly before his introductory press conference, but has known Gruden since filming the Gruden QB Camp segment back in 2014. They got along great then, and in each interaction since.

“We have so much more in common that people realize,” Carr said. “I think it would blow some people’s minds. Him and I are very similar in the way we go about our business and how we carry ourselves. It’s an exciting time.”

Carr’s excited to have some stability in his football life. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback will start his fifth NFL season with his fourth head coach, fourth go-round with an offensive coordinator and third offensive scheme. Gruden signed a 10-year contract. OC Greg Olson signed a four-year pact. They’ll be here a while, and Carr’s excited about that.

“It’s going to be really nice,” Carr said. “To know Jon signed on for a 10 years and (Olson) signed on for a long time shows me a couple of things. No. 1: that they believe in me. I don’t think Coach Gruden would’ve quit his day job, which I’m thankful he did. To get (Olson) out of a good spot in L.A (with the Rams), shows that they believe in me and that’s awesome. And, No. 2: I’m going to have two people I can talk to in a different language for years to come. We can grow within the relationship, and hopefully we’ll all ride off together. It’s set up that way right now, and we have a lot of work to do to reach that point.”

Raiders QB Derek Carr named to third straight Pro Bowl


Raiders QB Derek Carr named to third straight Pro Bowl

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is headed to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. He became eligible once New England qualified for the Super Bowl and Tom Brady was out of the running for next week’s NFL all-star game in Orlando.

Carr was the next alternate up, and accepted the invitation to represent the Silver and Black. Khalil Mack, Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn were named to the original roster, though Penn has bowed out with injury.

Carr will join his teammates in Florida for game-week festivities, followed by the inter-conference clash on Sunday at noon at Camping World Stadium. The game can be seen on ABC.

He joins Rich Gannon and Ken Stabler as Raiders quarterbacks with at least three Pro Bowl selections. Carr had a down year relative to his previous two, but still posted standout numbers. He had 3,496 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and an 86.4 passer rating.

The Raiders finished a disappointing 6-10, and head coach Jack Del Rio was fired in favor of Jon Gruden.

“It was not the year we wanted, but to still be recognized by you, Raider Nation and fans everywhere, and the players and coaches you go against is an extremely high honor I will always be thankful for!” Carr wrote in a note posted on Twitter. “Although I am extremely blessed to be thought of in such a way by my peers, I understand there is more work to do. There is more to achieve and more to accomplish and I will now ret until we get there, Raider Nation!”