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Pryor to have role this week for Raiders

Pryor to have role this week for Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) After spending most of the season on the bench, Terrelle Pryor has been playing a key role this week for the Oakland Raiders by impersonating Cam Newton in practice.

Pryor could have an even higher-profile role come game time Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp says Pryor will get on the field in certain specialty packages for the Raiders (4-10).

Pryor made his season debut last week, handing the ball off twice and throwing one incomplete pass as the coaching staff wanted to give him an entire series. The next step is using him in specific situations that can take advantage of his athleticism at quarterback.

``You'll see him a little bit on third downs, you'll see him maybe in the red zone, try to create a different look for the defense to contend with,'' Knapp said. ``It won't be so much the structure of last week, where he had a series, which we thought was fair to him. ... We're going to try to use some of his athletic ability this week.''

With more and more teams turning to dual-threat quarterbacks like Newton, Washington's Robert Griffin III or San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick, Pryor's athleticism has been tantalizing for Raiders fans looking for any kind of bright spot to a disappointing season.

As a star at Ohio State, Pryor showed many of the same skills those other young quarterbacks are displaying. He just wants the opportunity to prove he can do what they're doing in the NFL.

``Right now I don't want to compare myself to Kaepernick or Cam or any of those guys because them guys and Griffin have proved it,'' he said. ``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.''

Pryor is using those skills right now on the scout team to help the Raiders prepare for Newton. Oakland has struggled most of the season defensively and now has to deal with a new kind of challenge. A running quarterback like Newton can beat teams with his arm, as a scrambler or on designed runs out of the read-option.

``He creates a lot of other issues that you have to worry about,'' coach Dennis Allen said. ``You have to worry about him in the passing game just scrambling around and keeping the play alive. Obviously, they use him in a lot of different ways in the running game also. He presents some unique challenges.''

In a league with more and more running threats at quarterback, Newton still is one of the most dangerous. He leads Carolina with 647 yards rushing and is averaging 6 yards per carry - trailing only Griffin for most by a quarterback.

He leads all quarterbacks with seven touchdowns rushing - more than twice as many as Oakland's team total of three - and has rushed for 1,353 yards and 21 touchdowns in two seasons in the NFL.

``I've dealt with scrambling quarterbacks before but nothing like Cam Newton,'' Raiders linebacker Miles Burris said. ``He's kind of a breed of his own. A lot of new quarterbacks nowadays, like RG3 and those guys, running around, they can threaten your defense in a lot of different ways. So, we got to go out there and just prepare the best we can. That's all we can do every week. Just fly around to the ball and good things happen if you work hard.''

Oakland hasn't had to deal with many running quarterbacks this season as the schedule has been filled with more traditional dropback passers Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco and Drew Brees.

The Raiders haven't allowed any quarterback to run for more than 35 yards, which Matt Cassel did back in October for Kansas City. In all, Oakland has allowed opposing quarterbacks to run for 143 yards on 41 carries, the longest a 19-yarder by Chase Daniel late in a blowout loss last month to New Orleans. Taking out 16 kneeldowns by the opponent and quarterbacks are averaging 6.6 yards per carry against the Raiders.

Oakland last faced a running quarterback more than a year ago and had trouble in a couple of those games. Christian Ponder scrambled his way to 71 yards on five runs for Minnesota. But Newton also has designed runs like Tim Tebow did a year ago for Denver; Tebow ran right through Oakland in his one start, gaining 113 yards on 13 carries.

The Raiders will dedicate a defender on certain plays just to track Newton.

``There's times in a game where if you don't have guys tracking him all the time, you can get in positions where he can hurt you,'' defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. ``He's very good in the red zone. That's a situation where you have to have guys responsible for him.''

NOTES: DT Richard Seymour missed practice again with a hamstring injury and appears likely to miss his seventh straight game. Seymour is still tied for second on the team with three sacks. ... S Tyvon Branch also sat out with an ankle injury, but still could play Sunday.

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Lamar Jackson reacts to Madden 21 rating: ‘I wish it was better’

Lamar Jackson reacts to Madden 21 rating: ‘I wish it was better’

Madden 21 released a few ratings of top players in this year’s game, and to no one’s surprise, Lamar Jackson is perhaps the game’s most fun player.

Jackson is the game’s fastest quarterback with a 96 speed rating, paired with a 95 overall throw on the run rating, as well as a 94 rating for throwing under pressure. His throw power is 10th in the game at 92 overall.

RELATED: WHERE DOES LAMAR JACKSON RANK IN MADDEN 21 QB RATINGS?

But Jackson did take a little exception to his overall rating, which is a 94 -- good for the third best quarterback in the game behind Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson.

“I wish it was better,” Jackson said Monday evening on SportsCenter. “But hey, it’s better than it was last year. I guess we can roll with it till the season starts.”

Jackson, the cover athlete for this year’s game, started last year’s game at just a 76 overall.

Jackson wishes his rating was a little better this year due to his improvement from his rookie season to his second year in the league.

“I just think I did better than last year,” Jackson said. “I did a lot more than people expected, and our team did.”

As for what Jackson guessed his rating would be before the big reveal?

“At least 96, 97 probably,” Jackson had said.

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Ravens' J.K. Dobbins earns top Madden 21 rating of rookie running backs

Ravens' J.K. Dobbins earns top Madden 21 rating of rookie running backs

Baltimore Ravens rookie J.K Dobbins may have been the fifth running back taken in the 2020 NFL Draft but he’s No. 1 in the eyes of EA Sports' Madden NFL 21. In the newest rankings, Madden has the former Ohio State star as the highest-rated rookie running back in this year's edition. 

Dobbins, who earned a 75 overall rating leads the pack followed by Kansas City Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire (74), Detroit Lions’ D’Andre Swift (74), and Indianapolis Colts’ Jonathan Taylor (73). All were selected before Dobbins in April's draft. Over three seasons at OSU, Dobbins rushed for 4,459 yards and 38 touchdowns. His speed, power and versatility as a runner and receiver in the backfield earned him this rating, but we’ll see if he lives up to being “best in class” this upcoming season.

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