Raiders still searching for franchise quarterback 

click to enlarge Terrelle Pryor's dual-threat ability as a passer and runner helped him win the starting QB job. - KELLEY L. COX/USA TODAY SPORTS FILE PHOTO
  • Kelley L. Cox/USA Today sports file photo
  • Terrelle Pryor's dual-threat ability as a passer and runner helped him win the starting QB job.

While an NFL season can be as hard to predict as SuperLotto numbers, there seems to be a consensus among national and local pundits when evaluating the Raiders entering 2013: it could get ugly fast.

After suffering through a dismal 4-12 record in 2012, the early returns in the preseason did nothing to alleviate fears that 2013 will be more of the same.

The No. 1 reason for such a dire outlook for a franchise that hasn't had a winning record since 2002 is the uncertainty at quarterback.

Sure, the Raiders have plenty of other issues. The defense is almost entirely new, the offensive line needs players to step up, a large chunk of the salary cap this year is dedicated to players no longer in Oakland and the coach and general manager still remain unproven.

But this is the NFL in 2013. You aren't going anywhere without a high-caliber player behind center.

Just look back to last year and how Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick instantly made their respective offenses in Indianapolis, Washington and San Francisco more dynamic.

It's something the Raiders have been lacking for seemingly forever. Over the past decade, names such as Josh McCown, JaMarcus Russell, Bruce Gradkowski, Jason Campbell and Carson Palmer have all taken snaps in Oakland.

Not quite a list of future Hall of Famers.

As the 2013 season is set to kick off Sunday for the Raiders in Indianapolis against the Colts, the outlook at quarterback doesn't appear to be much better.

Coach Dennis Allen has said he won't publicly announce a starting QB until game day, but word trickled out this week that it would be Terrelle Pryor getting the nod over Matt Flynn.

At this point, Flynn is probably feeling like Charlie Brown with Lucy constantly pulling the ball out from under him as this would make the second straight year he entered training camp for a team as the starter only to be the backup when Week 1 rolled around.

But it's the right move for the Raiders. Flynn showed very little in the preseason and while Pryor is hardly a consistent passer, he is a dynamic athlete who can keep plays alive with his feet, an extremely valuable trait. Pryor needs to improve his accuracy throwing the ball, but he clearly gives the Raiders a better chance to win right now.

Maybe Flynn, or even third-stringer Matt McGloin, will eventually get their chance down the road this year, but the problem is it may not matter. The Raiders are lacking any consistent receiving threats and as talented a running back as Darren McFadden can be, his injury history is well-documented.

The truth of the matter is the QB of the future may not even be on the current roster. Maybe he eventually comes in the form of Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater in April's draft.

But for now, as the NFL season rapidly approaches, it's Pryor's turn. He may be the best of the bunch, but it remains to be seen if he can be a building block instead of a roadblock, something that has become all too common with quarterbacks in Oakland.

Dylan Kruse is the sports editor of The San Francisco Examiner. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @dylan_kruse.

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Dylan Kruse

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