By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 23rd, 2013 at 3:29 pm in Oakland Raiders.
ALAMEDA – Terrelle Pryor’s season is ending the way it began, under center as the Raiders starting quarterback, for the regular-season finale against the Denver Broncos.
Pryor started eight of the first nine games this season – Matt Flynn started one game while Pryor recovered from a concussion – but got replaced by undrafted rookie Matt McGloin after he suffered a right knee sprain.
McGloin started the past six games, with the Raiders going 1-5 during that span and McGloin not coming close to matching his jaw-dropping performance in his first start, when he passed for three touchdowns in a Raiders victory over the Houston Texans.
“We got a chance to see Matt McGloin for six games,” Allen said Monday at his day-after-game news conference. “I liked a lot of things that I saw in Matt. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten an opportunity to see Terrelle in a game, and I want to get him in the game and get another opportunity to evaluate him.”
Allen said the decision to go with Pryor one more time was part of the plan all along and is not a reflection of McGloin’s performance.
“I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen out of Matt McGloin from, really, the first moment he walked on campus here,” Allen said. “We have a guy that can be in our plans for the future, and I’m glad he’s on this football team.”
He said earlier this season that he and general manager Reggie McKenzie wanted to use the final part of the season to evaluate Pryor and McGloin so that they had as much information as possible on both quarterbacks heading into the offseason.
“We want to be able to evaluate Terrelle, so here’s an opportunity to go in and do that,” Allen said. “Listen, when Terrelle’s played he’s gone in and done a good job. So we anticipate he’ll go in and play well.”
Pryor made his first NFL start in last season’s regular-season finale. He earned the starting job this season based on a strong performance in training camp and exhibition games.
As a result, the Raiders waived Flynn a month into the season and turned over the reins to Pryor and McGloin the rest of the way.
Pryor shined in his first four starts. However, he completed only 61 of 120 passes his next four starts, with one touchdown and eight interceptions.
McGloin hasn’t completed more than 60 percent of his passes in any game, and he has eight touchdowns and eight interceptions in his seven games – he relieved Pryor late in a lopsided loss to the Eagles before he made his first start.
McGloin and Pryor weren’t available for comment, as Allen gave his players the day off Monday.
– The Raiders committed a season-high 12 penalties for 73 yards against the Chargers on Sunday. That thrust them near the top of the league, a spot all too familiar for Raiders teams of the past.
Overall, they were penalized 114 times for 902 yards the first 15 games. The Seahawks (121) are the only team penalized more. The Raiders are seventh in terms of yards penalized.
By comparison, the Raiders committed 108 penalties (tied for eighth) for 939 yards (eighth) last season on the heels of shattering league records for penalties (163) and yards penalized (1,358) in 2011 under then-coach Hue Jackson.
– The Raiders now know all 13 of their opponents for next season.
Their eight home games are: Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins (in England), Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals and 49ers.
Their eight away games are: Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets and New England Patriots.
– The Broncos roll into Oakland later this week without standout linebacker Von Miller, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament Sunday. Even so, the Raiders can expect the Broncos’ best shot, regardless of the fact the Broncos already clinched the AFC West and a first-round bye in the AFC Playoffs.
The Broncos still need a victory over the Raiders or a Patriots loss or tie to sew up home-field advantage.
Then there’s the matter of quarterback Peyton Manning, who is 266 yards shy of surpassing Drew Brees as the NFL record-holder for most yards in a season. Manning passed for 400 yards against the Texans on Sunday, and he is at 5,211 through 15 games.