What we learned Friday: Pryor, Young state their cases
- By Chris Wesseling
- Around the League Writer
- Published: Aug. 24, 2013 at 01:42 a.m.
- Updated: Aug. 24, 2013 at 03:26 a.m.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn can be forgiven if he feels a sense of deja vu following Friday's 34-26 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.
It was a year ago this week that the Seattle Seahawks named Russell Wilson their starter, sending Flynn to the bench. Flynn might be awaiting the same fate after he was thoroughly outplayed by Terrelle Pryor Friday night. Carrying the imprimatur of general manager Reggie McKenzie and the anointing oils of coach Dennis Allen, Flynn had to face plant in the third preseason game to leave the door open for Pryor
That's exactly how it went down. Flynn's offense was a "debaculous fiasco," falling behind 27-0 by late in the second quarter while inviting a chorus of boos and "Pryor!, Pryor!" chants from the home crowd.
After a rocky first series, Pryor proceeded to light a fire under the previously lifeless Raiders. Making plays with his legs as well as his arm, Pryor led four scoring drives to bring his team within one score of the Bears in just over a quarter of action.
Allen will review the film before deciding on his Week 1 quarterback.
"We gotta look at it. Don't think Matt Flynn played well," Allen said after the game, via the San Francisco Chronicle. "Terrelle gave us a spark. We're not going to make any decision tonight."
It's already evident that this roster simply doesn't have the talent to stay competitive most weeks. Does it behoove the organization to stay loyal to a game manager like Flynn when the defense can't keep the opposing team out of the end zone?
A similar situation was playing out in Green Bay, albeit on a lesser scale.
Coach Mike McCarthy gave Graham Harrell a plum opportunity to nail down the No. 2 job, inserting last year's backup into the game with the first-team offense after just one series for Aaron Rodgers. While Harrell managed just 3.8 yards per attempt and failed to lead a single scoring drive in five opportunities (including four with the first-team offensive line), Vince Young threw up a 130.7 passer rating and 39 rushing yards while adding a much-needed dash of excitement in two series.
Most importantly, Young looked comfortable running McCarthy's offense less than three weeks after signing.
"I think Vince is definitely one of the players who took advantage of his opportunities tonight," McCarthy acknowledged after the game. If Rodgers goes down with an injury, the Packers are in better hands with Young than Harrell.
Here's what else we learned during Friday's two preseason games:
Seattle Seahawks 17, Green Bay Packers 10
1. DuJuan Harris brushed off the knee injury that knocked him out of the game in the second quarter. Harris looked rusty as the Packers' starting running back while Eddie Lacy had nowhere to run against the Seahawks' starters pinning their ears back with no concern for Harrell's arm. We still expect Lacy to lead this backfield in carries even if Harris enters the season as the starter.
2. Packers rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari had an uneven performance for the second consecutive week. He was called for a holding penalty that nullified an 11-yard Lacy run and was later beaten by inside, leading to a tipped pass.
3. Seahawks rookie Christine Michael returned from a back injury to total 123 yards on 12 touches, trucking Packers defenders like he was Marshawn Lynch. It's already evident that Michael is a more talented runner than Robert Turbin in what is emerging as the deepest backfield in the NFL. The No. 62 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft is averaging nearly 7 yards per on 27 preseason carries.
4. Jermaine Kearse seemingly came out of nowhere to steal the show for the Seahawks in last week's 40-10 victory over the Denver Broncos. This time, it was former Arizona Cardinals training camp sensation Stephen Williams, who hauled in a beautiful 42-yard touchdown pass from Brady Quinn. This roster is deep everywhere.
Chicago Bears 34, Oakland Raiders 26
1. The Raiders' beleaguered first-string offensive line had no prayer of keeping the Bears' defense out of the backfield. Flynn was under constant duress, and running back Rashad Jennings failed to top 3 yards per carry while filling in for Darren McFadden.
2. Thriving behind a revamped Bears offensive line featuring rookie starters at right guard and right tackle, Matt Forte is averaging a gaudy 9.93 yards per carry in three preseason games. Forte appears to be quicker this year than last. He's going to be a focal point of the offense for coach Marc Trestman, who has traditionally leaned heavily on his lead back in the passing game. The coaching staff might be different, but Michael Bush remains the goal-line back of choice.
3. Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater left with a head injury following a collision with a pair of Bears defenders. Seventh-round sleeper Brice Butler didn't have a single reception after starring in the first two preseason games.
4. Raiders' rookie quarterback Tyler Wilson, a fourth-round draft pick, is in danger of not making the roster. Still stuck behind undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, Wilson never left the bench Friday night. He's persona non grata.
5. In his first game action since nearly dying on the field last season, Raiders rookie cornerback DJ Hayden squared off against Brandon Marshall. Hayden held his own with a pass breakup and Marshall dropped three passes.
6. Former All-Pro kick returner Josh Cribbs appears to have left his speed on the operating table. The Raiders are better off with Jacoby Ford returning kickoffs.