After an entire offseason, most NFL teams are ready to roll for week one of the regular season, but as is often the case, the Oakland Raiders aren’t following suit, and at first glance, the team doesn’t appear ready for their Sunday matchup in Indianapolis.
The big question going into week one is, who will be the Raiders’ quarterback. We’d all like to know whether the team will go with Matt Flynn, who was brought in as the man for the job from Seattle, or Terrelle Pryor, a quarterback that has athleticism on his side.
Frankly, the Raiders don’t want us to know.
Oakland will be outmatched in most of their games this season. They lack the playmakers to contend for a divisional title, but at least during week one of the regular season, they have the element of surprise, or at least until they declare a starting quarterback.
Right now, many have been leaning towards Terrelle Pryor as their starter, and that’s probably who the Colts expect under center. He outplayed Matt Flynn in preseason action, and he took first-team reps in practice, but even if he’s the starter, the Raiders can still remain flexible.
Consider this. If Pryor does start and plays poorly on Sunday, the Raiders could pull him out of the game and insert Matt Flynn. This would give Oakland an opportunity to change the pace of the game, and with their defense, they may actually be able to hold the Colts in check. The move could work the opposite way as well. If Flynn starts and plays poorly, we would expect Pryor to take over before things got out of hand.
Obviously, for the rest of the season, such flexibility won’t be possible. At some point, one of the Raiders’ quarterbacks will separate himself from the backup, and the quarterback competition will be over, but for at least one more week, it may not hurt the Raiders to leave the door open. The Colts are facing two completely different challenges depending on who is under center for the Raiders, and if I were Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, I would lead the Colts on as much as possible before actually declaring a starting quarterback.