ALAMEDA -- Fans with T.P. Time Fever may finally get a prescriptionand it has nothing to do with cowbell.Rather, Raiders third-string quarterback Terrelle Pryor should dress for the first time this season come Sunday against Cleveland."Our anticipation is that we would suit him up as the third quarterback this week," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said."Hes one of those guys where we want to at least get him up, get him suited up andhe needs to start getting some, what it feels like to suit up on game day and well see if we play him in the game."And if he does play, would he be limited to certain packages, or will he have the entire playbook at his disposal?"If he plays, wed have the plays that hes going to run," Allen said. "Its our offense, if he plays in the game. But I think were kind of getting ahead of ourselves right there."Besides, Matt Leinart is technically the backup to Carson Palmer.And simply dressing for the first time this season -- he was active five times last year and got on the field once, when he was called for a false start -- is not that much to get worked up over, Pryor said."Thats not something thats my goal -- Ive suited up for plenty of games before," Pryor said. "But its a step to be with this organization and just go out and warm up with those guys and be around Carson and see how he handles a real game situation, so its going to be a good time."Usually, before (I was not active) because we needed another special teams guy, but he said hes going to suit me up, but we havent ran any plays or anything like that."Pryor has always been an intriguing figure, and with only five games left in the season it's getting close for the Raiders to see exactly what they have in the QB project. So does general manager Reggie McKenzie especially care?"I care because that's the only way I can evaluate him, is to play him," McKenzie said. "Now, when he plays, how much he plays, that will be a charge to the coaching staff, but yes. We've got a third of the season left, and this is a good time to try to figure out what works best for him."A year ago, former Raiders coach Hue Jackson had an entire package of plays ready for Pryor at home against Kansas City. But then, the wheels came off. Darren McFadden suffered his Lisfranc injury, Kyle Boller was ineffective and Carson Palmer made his debut, despite not being ready, when the Raiders were already trailing 21-0.In that game, Pryor was on the field for one play, lining up as a receiver before going in motion and settling under center for the snap -- Boller was in the shotgun formation -- before being whistled for a false start. Pryor would not see the field again until this past preseason, amid waves of speculation that he would change positions."The coaches know I work my butt off to play quarterback," Pryor said. "The biggest critic of an individual should be yourself and I know the things that I have to get better at and I had to get better at. So as long as you can fix those things and look at yourself actually in the mirror and say 'This is why Im not playing' or 'This is why the other guys are in front of me' and if you can really do that, and be truthful to yourself, thats how you get better. And thats what Ive been doing."
ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio put out a statement Tuesday explaining why he fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
He went into greater detail Wednesday afternoon, his first time facing the media since a change was made
Specifics will be discussed further down this story. We don’t, however, want to bury the lede.
Del Rio’s main message wasn’t about Norton. It applied to all in Silver and Black. This season has not met lofty expectations. That is unacceptable.
“I know one thing,” Del Rio said. “Nobody should feel comfortable, because what I’ve been watching is not good enough.”
Del Rio didn’t absolve himself from blame. Norton got fired, but everyone has played a part in this disappointing 4-6 record.
“It’s always shared,” Del Rio said. “A change was made, obviously. We all share in it, all of us, starting with me. It’s coaches and players. It’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. And nobody is coming to help us.”
The Raiders must look inward to start a prolonged winning streak they’ve shown little evidence they can create.
The seat will be warm under players and coaches alike, even if only one change was made. Expect further shakeup on the coaching staff after the season, if vast improvements don’t come down the stretch, possibly with several position coaches being shown the door. More than a few higher profile players could be cut or allowed to leave, especially on defense.
While Del Rio has taken more heat the past month than at any other time in his Raiders tenure, expect him to be around a longer term. He was given a contract extension in February, and has significant capitol built after changing the culture in Oakland and re-teaching this team how to win. One bad year, even if this season continues heading downhill, shouldn’t erase that.
Del Rio was looking to shake things up, and Norton was the obvious move. Experienced play caller John Pagano was on staff – he was Chargers defensive coordinator from 2012-2016 – and firing the popular Pagano’s style could create some new waves and looks that any offensive Norton would make an impact in the locker room and prove this story’s opening quote, that no one should feel comfortable.
Del Rio hopes firing Norton will be a shock to the defense’s system.
“I really felt like I needed to shake things up,” Del Rio said. “We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. So I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we’re doing and make sure…what I’m looking for at the end of the day is for us to play fast on defense. We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.”
ALAMEDA — It’s time to see conclusively if quarterback Paxton Lynch is a bust or just a late bloomer.
The Denver Broncos’ former first-round draft pick will make his first start this weekend at Oakland, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Denver coach Vance Joseph won’t announce his starter until Wednesday.
General manager John Elway moved up in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft to select Lynch with the 26th overall pick, but the former Memphis QB proved to be a project.
Trevor Siemian, a 2015 seventh-rounder from Northwestern, handily beat out Lynch in 2016 and again this season. Shortly after coming up short in Denver’s quarterback competition for the second time, Lynch bruised his throwing shoulder against Green Bay in a preseason game.
That led to the re-signing of Peyton Manning’s longtime backup, Brock Osweiler, who had been released by Cleveland following a trade from Houston.
Osweiler supplanted a turnover prone Siemian (10 interceptions, two lost fumbles) three weeks ago but went winless in his three starts, including a 20-17 defeat to Cincinnati on Sunday in which Lynch was active for the first time.
On Monday, Joseph fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave.
McCoy raised eyebrows with his overly complex game plans and stubbornness in sticking to three-receiver formations despite a flurry of sacks, flags and turnovers that resulted from a porous line and lack of depth at tight end and wide receiver.
Joseph said he wanted Musgrave, who guided the Raiders’ offense from 2015-16, to simplify the game plans.
Although no team has ever recovered from a 3-7 start to reach the playoffs, it will be interesting to see how Lynch’s promotion is met in the locker room.
Teammates have been effusive in their praise of the work ethic and leadership displayed by Osweiler and Siemian and they usually speak in terms of promise and potential when talking about Lynch, who’s never been known to get to work first and leave last like so many quarterbacks do.
Last week, when Lynch worked as the backup at practice for the first time and even handled some passing plays with the starters, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders praised Osweiler’s energy and experience that he brought to the equation and said what Lynch brings is a promising upside if he ever buckles down.
“Brock, he’s been there before, he’s been groomed by Peyton, so he understands the ins and outs of how to play quarterback,” Sanders said. “Paxton has a big-time arm, big-time talent. He has all the intangibles. It’s all about going out and getting more and more comfortable with the playbook, learning and growing as a player, becoming a pro.”
Lynch went 1-1 last year in place of an injured Siemian, losing to Atlanta and beating Jacksonville. He completed 49 of 83 passes for 497 yards and two TDs to go with an interception. He was sacked nine times.
He had to learn a new system when Gary Kubiak stepped down and was replaced by Joseph, who brought in McCoy to replace Rick Dennison.
With Musgrave’s promotion, Lynch will be working under his third system in less than two years in the NFL, albeit one that will be pared down for him.
He’ll face a Raiders defense going through its own shakeup . The Raiders fired defensive coordinator Ken North Jr. on Tuesday and coach Jack Del Rio handed those duties over to assistant head coach John Pagano.