Head coach Dennis Allen has said that he would not announce a starter until prior to game time on Sunday because of “competitive reasons” but on Monday morning he had informed both Pryor and Matt Flynn with the decision.
The 24-year-old earned the starting spot over Flynn, who was expected to be the team’s starting quarterback after Oakland acquired him from the Seattle Seahawks in April in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft and a conditional pick in 2015. By losing out on the starting quarterback job, Flynn is expected to be the team’s backup.
Signs of the move were evident as Pryor, who was the team’s third round selection in the 2011 supplemental draft, in Monday’s practice that was open the media took a share of the snaps with the first-team offense during a drill.
This preseason, Pryor was 17 of 32 for 221 yards with one passing touchdown, two interceptions, and on 14 rushing attempts ran for 131 yards and one touchdown. Flynn has struggled by throwing 19 of 32 for 180 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions, was sacked eight times and also did not appear in the last preseason game against the Seahawks due to tendonitis in his throwing shoulder.
In third preseason game Flynn was 3-for-6 for 19 yards with two interceptions and a fumble. After he was taken out of the game, Pryor came in led the offense to four scoring drives which included the 24-year-old going 7-of-9 for 93 yards and a touchdown. In 14 drives this preseason Pryor has led the team to produce 32 points while Flynn in 13 drives has produce 10 points.
This may seem like a bit of deja vu for Flynn as he lost the starting quarterback job last preseason with the Seahawks after the emergence of Russell Wilson. He has had one start since the 2011 season when he was a member of the Green Bay Packers and played in place of an injured Aaron Rodgers, which in the game he was 31-of-44 for 480 yards with six touchdowns and one interception.
Pryor adds another dynamic to the Raiders’ offense as he has the ability to use his legs to extend plays by escaping pressure and can be called upon to rush in a given play or when it breaks down.
Last season, Pryor started the regular season finale against the San Diego Chargers, which he threw for 150 yards with two touchdowns, and also ran 49 yards and a touchdown.