One day after Pryor threw three interceptions, including two in the final 4½ minutes of a 24-7 loss to Kansas City, Raiders coach Dennis Allen said he remains committed to the young quarterback and has no plans to make a change.
“I don’t think he played as well as he would have liked or what we wanted him to, but again, he’s still a young player,” Allen said Monday. “He’s still got a lot of growing to do and a lot of getting better to do. He’s a talented player and we’re going to continue to try to build with him and try to grow with him.”
Still, Allen acknowledged Pryor’s play was pivotal in Oakland’s second-half collapse against the Chiefs.
Most of the mistakes were self-inflicted.
The 24-year-old struggled to get plays called on time, resulting in three delay of game penalties. He also called the wrong play during one drive, and called for the wrong pass protection on another.
One of Pryor’s interceptions came while the quarterback was backpedaling and threw a high pass that was picked off.
He was also sacked 10 times and had a career-low rating of 45.7. “What disappoints me is we lost a game because of me, that’s how I look at it,” Pryor said. “Defensively we played great, offensively we played great. It was just No. 2. He didn’t play well.
“I deserved them hits because I made bad plays. Little stupid mistakes like that, I deserved to get pile-driven into the ground.”
While Oakland’s locker room was mostly barren after the team fell to 2-4, Pryor answered questions from reporters for nearly 15 minutes.
Nearly the entire conversation revolved around Pryor and his self-criticism.
While Allen termed Pryor’s performance a “learning experience,” the quarterback himself was much more harsh in his evaluation.
He chided himself for not getting the team in and out of the huddle fast enough, called his interceptions terrible and pinned the entire meltdown on his shoulders.
“That’s on me,” he said. “I can’t play like I played yesterday, or I won’t be here long. I made a lot of mistakes and I’m putting it all on my plate. I just didn’t play well.”
Pryor went into the game with a respectable 97.6 passer rating and completed seven of his first nine attempts against the Chiefs before things went sour.
And when they went bad, they went bad quickly.
All three of Pryor’s interceptions came in the second half. The Chiefs converted the turnovers into 17 points.
“I think he had a learning experience,” Allen said. “That’s part of the growth of a young player. Now the key is, does he learn from it, does he move forward from it and does he play better against Pittsburgh? That’s what we’re looking for.”
Pryor didn’t get much relief from the running game or from an injury-riddled offensive line that was down to its third-string center and backups at right guard and right tackle.
Relief could be on the way. Left tackle Jared Veldheer, who has been out since undergoing surgery to repair a torn triceps, is continuing to rehab without any setbacks and could return from the short-term injured reserve list as early as Week 9 when Oakland plays Philadelphia.
“Everything’s going well,” Veldheer said. “It’s where it should be. I haven’t hit any obstacles. I’m itching to get back as soon as I can.”
The Raiders have a bye this week and will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before getting a much-needed four-day break.
“I think this bye’s coming at a great time for us,” Allen said. “We have a lot of guys down right now with some injuries and we need them to be able to get some rest.”