ALAMEDA – Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Monday that quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s right knee injury is more severe than he realized. Even so, that wasn’t the determining factor in the Raiders loss to the New York Giants.
“When you watch the game, I didn’t look at it and think that that was really the limitation that held us back there,” Allen said Monday in his weekly, day-after-game news conference.
Just the same, Allen added, he intends to meet with Pryor so that he can get a full grasp of where Pryor stands in terms of health.
Pryor completed 11 of 26 passes for 122 yards, with one interception, in a 24-20 loss Sunday. He also ran only five times for 19 yards and fumbled once.
Afterward, Pryor said that he played with a sprained medial collateral ligament that he suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 3. The knee worsened as the week progressed.
“It was obvious that there wasn’t that explosiveness that we had seen out of him prior to the injury,” Allen said. “I’ll sit down and visit with Terrelle a little bit more and find out exactly where he is physically.
“It wasn’t something that we thought was going to be a big factor going into the game. But, obviously, it was a factor.”
Running back Rashad Jennings said he was “too dialed in” on his own job to notice whether Pryor’s movement and play were restricted by Pryor’s injury.
Allen said he admires Pryor for wanting to play at less than 100 percent, as he does with all his players.
At the same time, he added, there’s a fine line between playing through pain and knowing when to ask out.
“You got to be effective,” Allen said. “If you’re injured and can’t help the football team, then it’s best that we have somebody else in there.”
Pryor did what Jennings and most other NFL players do, Jennings said, by playing hurt.
“Most players that I’ve ever met who have played this game, you have to take them off the field,” Jennings said. “They’re not just going to walk off. I don’t question anything.”
Allen said he didn’t consider removing Pryor from the game Sunday, either because of Pryor’s limited effectiveness or inconsistent play. Pryor remains the unquestioned starter as long as he’s healthy enough.
Pryor’s status for this Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans is in question until he tests it out at practice this week. His first shot at that comes Wednesday.
Undrafted free agent Matt McGloin is the only other quarterback on Oakland’s 53-man roster. Fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson is on the practice squad.
— Rookie Menelik Watson’s first NFL start in a regular-season game didn’t go quite as well as planned.
Most glaring, he got beat soundly on the play in which Pryor fumbled. Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka blew past Watson and knocked the ball out of Pryor’s hand on a key play in the game.
“He struggled a little bit in this game,” Allen said.
In fairness, most players struggle against a Giants defensive line that features the likes of Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre Paul and Kiwanuka.
“There were some good things he did in the game and obviously some times that he struggled a little bit,” Allen said. “Hopefully we’ll learn from that and continue to get better at that.”
— Jennings rushed for 190 yards and caught nine passes for 93 yards in his past two games while filling in for injured starter Darren McFadden.
Allen said Jennings has played well enough to warrant increased playing time, even if McFadden is healthy enough to play. He stopped shy of saying that Jennings will start.
“It’s a production business,” Allen said, “and when he’s had the opportunity to go in there, he has produced. When you do that, you get more opportunities. … He’s going to get his touches because he’s earned his touches.”
Jennings seemed unfazed by the ringing endorsement from his coach. His focus remains on finding even more ways to help the Raiders win games.
“We deserve more victories than we’ve been giving ourselves,” Jennings said. “There’s no moral victories. We’re going to continue to grow as a team, no question. But we got to grow up now and learn how to close out games.”
Allen said his team’s latest loss doesn’t change his opinion of what his players are capable of doing the final seven games.
“I like that locker room in there,” Allen said. “Those guys are going to continue to fight. They’re going to continue to compete. We’re going to get this thing turned around.”
— The Raiders waived offensive lineman Jack Cornell. They now have a vacancy on their 53-man roster.