Can Pryor emerge as Oakland's starter?

January, 23, 2013
1/23/13
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SiriusXMNFL Radio reported that quarterback Terrelle Pryor will have a chance to compete with Carson Palmer for the starting job in 2013.

[+] EnlargeTerrelle Pryor, Carson Palmer
AP Photo/Ben MargotTerrelle Pryor will be given the chance to compete with Carson Palmer for the Raiders starting QB job.
Yet, I wouldn’t assume Pryor is going to be Oakland’s opening-day starter nor would I say there will surely be a quarterback controversy in training camp in Oakland.

Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie told Bay Area reporters last week Pryor must compete for his playing time.

“Right now, he’s our No. 2,” McKenzie said last week. “We’ve got Matt Leinart as a free agent. I’m going to bring guys in. I’m not penciling in anybody at any position as one, two. I’m going to have somebody in here to try to compete with everybody. So I’m not going to get into who is two or three, or number one for that matter.”

It’s standard procedure in the NFL for teams to talk about open competition early in the offseason. The key for Pryor is the offseason program.

If Pryor makes strides and comes to camp improved, perhaps he can push Palmer.

Oakland should hope Pryor can push Palmer, who is 33. Pryor has potential. This is becoming a young quarterback league. If Pryor can be part of it, it will give Oakland a chance to expedite its rebounding process.

Pryor pleasantly surprised the team with his play in the season finale at San Diego with Palmer injured. The team didn’t think Pryor was making great progress because of inconsistent practice play.

But when he got the chance to play, he seized the moment and made some nice things happen. He is still very much a work in progress. That’s why there is no guarantee that he will be ready to compete with Palmer. But he will be given the chance.

If he answers the challenge in camp and in the preseason, I wouldn’t be shocked if Pryor seizes the job from Palmer.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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