NFL

Flynn steady, Pryor shows promise in Raiders training camp

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The Canadian Press
8/10/2013 9:26:52 PM
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NAPA, Calif. -- Quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor basically performed as advertised in the exhibition opener for the Oakland Raiders.

Flynn was the steady by unspectacular game manager who tries to stay on schedule as he moves the offence methodically down the field. Pryor was a somewhat predictable mix of dazzling and frustrating, mixing big plays with a boneheaded decision that led to a turnover.

The surprise of the quarterback group might have been undrafted rookie from Penn State Matt McGloin, who showed why he has passed fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson for third string on the depth chart when he produced Oakland's only touchdown in the 19-17 win over Dallas on Friday night.

"I think the thing that you see from Matt is he is composed," coach Dennis Allen said Saturday. "He does have poise in the pocket and he doesn't get rattled. For a guy who is an undrafted free agent, to handle himself the way he's handled himself in pressure situations has been a nice surprise."

McGloin was 4 for 7 for 78 yards in the third quarter, completing two long pass to fellow rookie Brice Butler, including a well-placed 30-yard touchdown.

McGloin went from a walk-on at Penn State to an NFL prospect after throwing for 3,271 yards and 24 touchdowns last season under coach Bill O'Brien. He joined the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in May and recently passed the more heralded Wilson the depth chart as he tries to earn a roster spot.

"He did great," Flynn said. "He's had a great camp so far and it's fun to watch those guys that you've been helping day in, day out go out there and perform well."

All of Oakland's top three quarterbacks had their good moments in the win. Flynn responded from a sack fumble after a blown protection on the opening drive to convert to third downs through the air on a field-goal drive late in the first quarter.

Flynn finished 4 for 5 for 37 yards.

"When you look at Matt Flynn you're not going to be wowed because he's the biggest, strongest, fastest, best arm," Allen said. "But that's not what being a great quarterback in this league is all about. Being a great quarterback in this league is more about the mental part of the game than it is the physical part of the game. It's timing, it's decision-making, it's accuracy. Those are some of the things that I see him being able to do."

That was Pryor's biggest problem. An otherwise impressive night was overshadowed by one ill-fated decision late in the first half. After moving the Raiders down the field with ease, Pryor rolled out on a third-and-4 from the 6.

He had room to run on the outside for a first down or possibly a touchdown but decided instead to try to throw the ball across his body to Butler in the middle of the end zone.

J.J. Wilcox stepped in front of the pass and intercepted it and Pryor immediately knew he made a bad decision.

"I looked at the pictures and I could have ran it easy," Pryor said. "That was just me being greedy. Maybe in the back of my mind I was saying, 'Hey, I want to throw a touchdown pass. People think I can't.' I have to understand the abilities I have and use them to perfection."

Pryor responded by leading the Raiders to a field-goal on an impressive two-minute drill at the end of the half, even throwing two balls away instead of forcing it into coverage as he learned his lesson.

Even though Flynn is on track to be the starter at quarterback this season, the Raiders plan to use Pryor at times as well. He showed why with two long runs on read-option plays, a scramble that led to a completion and as a decoy on Rashad Jennings' 16-yard run.

Pryor could be used in a special red zone and short-yardage package or come in for a series or two at a time as the Raiders try to capitalize on his athleticism.

"You see what the athletic skill set that really excites all of us," Allen said. "The fact that he's really a dual threat -- he can run the football. I thought he threw the ball pretty well at times tonight. That's one of the things that we want to try to use that skill set and hopefully it'll be another dimension to our offence."

NOTES: LB Keenan Clayton was the only player injured in the game and is questionable for practice Sunday. ... RG Mike Brisiel will get a day off because Allen said he is not completely healthy right now and struggled in the game

Matt Flynn (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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