In a surprising reversal, the Oakland Raiders will start backup quarterback Matt Flynn instead of first string Terrelle Pryor against the Washington Redskins Sunday in Oakland. The Raiders will take the home field after a Monday Night Football spanking at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The Redskins are winless coming into Week 4 (NFL Week 3: The Woe of 0-3).
The surprise is not that the struggling 1-2 Raiders are changing quarterbacks so much as the contradicting information coming from their camp. Earlier in the week, Pryor was said to be cleared after suffering a”mild” concussion from a hit by Denver linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Pryor tweeted afterwards to apologize to Raiders fans for the loss on Monday saying he did not “remember much” of the game. He also thanked concerned fans and well-wishers, further tweeting, ”I feel great [sic] I’m ready to go.”
From all appearances his start was a go until Sunday morning when FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer tweeted the decision to start Flynn instead. Pryor has not had a poor showing in the first three games of the season. He completed 19 of 28 passes on Monday Night for 128 yards and a touchdown before Woodyard’s hit put him out of the game.
Raiders Coach Dennis Allen said Pryor was making progress but, “We want to do the right thing for this kid,” and not put him on the field until he was fully recovered (cbssports.com). Indications from Pryor’s required three-step post- concussion check-up and tests showed he is ready to play, but caution is the word of the day in Oakland.
As for Flynn, he will become the 16th starting quarterback for the Raiders since the beginning of the 2003 season. Sunday will be his first start for Oakland and the third of his career. Flynn was previously seriously considered for the starting position, but turned in a less than desirable showing during preseason. He threw two interceptions during a game against the Chicago Bears, lost a fumble and got sacked. Not helping his bid for the job, he suffered a flare up of a sore elbow but does not blame the injury for his relegation to backup status. Flynn reportedly injured the elbow while practicing with the Seattle Seahawks, another quarterback position he was not quite right for; the Seahawks chose then-rookie Russell Wilson instead and traded Flynn in the off season to the Raiders. Flynn also spent sometime behind Green Bay’s Aaron Rogers.
“He’s a pro,” says Coach Allen. “If his number is called…he’ll be ready to play.”
Flynn sought the advice of quarterback Aaron Rogers, a former mentor and teammate, as well as family when he was told Pryor would be starting the season for the Raiders instead.
With a record that looks terribly thin on experience and a bit too heavy on not-so-good performance, Flynn may not hold the starting position very long. Pryor’s play this season is not spectacular but more than adequate for a young quarterback. If the Raiders cannot manage to turn in some wins very soon this season, Flynn may not be the only Raider to see his job go to someone else.
Written by: Brandi Tasby