Raiders still seeking answers at quarterback

The Oakland Raiders hoped they had the quarterback to build the

franchise around after Terrelle Pryor dazzled in a victory over the

San Diego Chargers 11 weeks ago that showed flashes of what he

could bring as a dual-threat quarterback.

Instead of building on that strong start, Pryor regressed and

eventually lost his starting job to undrafted rookie Matt

McGloin.

McGloin will make his sixth start of the season on Sunday for

the Raiders (4-10) against the Chargers (7-7) and the organization

still is searching for the long-term solution at quarterback that

has eluded the Raiders since Rich Gannon left almost a decade

ago.

Oakland is playing out the string of its 11th straight

non-winning season with much of the focus on what they have to

build on for the future.

”I think both these guys have shown signs of being a

quarterback in the National Football League,” coach Dennis Allen

said. ”I don’t think either one of them is a finished product yet.

We’re going to look at these last two games and try to see what we

have and see what we need to do going into the future.”

Pryor showed signs of being that guy by winning two of his first

four starts, capped by the strong performance against the Chargers

when he completed 18 of 23 passes for 221 yards, two touchdowns and

no interceptions in a 27-17 victory.

But he has struggled since then, completing 49.2 percent of his

passes, with nine interceptions, one touchdown and a league-worst

40.7 passer rating in that span. He lost his starting job after

trying to play through a sprained knee injury in a loss against the

New York Giants on Nov. 10 and then blaming the injury for his poor

performance.

McGloin made a triumphant debut the following week in Houston,

becoming the fourth quarterback since the 1970 merger to throw

three touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first start.

But McGloin has lost four straight starts since then, with his

worst coming last week when he threw four interceptions and lost a

fumble in a 56-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

”It is tough,” McGloin said. ”As competitors we don’t like to

lose. We put so much time and so much effort in that to get beat

isn’t something that you expect or want. Again, we just have to

work harder, stay later, watch more film and work harder in the

weight room. We have to find a solution for it.”

But McGloin remains the starter as Allen has praised his

big-play ability with a league-high 15 passes of at least 25 yards

since becoming the starter.

The Raiders have sprinkled Pryor back into the offense the past

two weeks. He played an entire series in a 37-27 loss to the New

York Jets on Dec. 8, leading Oakland to a field goal. Pryor then

got 15 snaps last week against the Chiefs, coming in and out of the

game as the Raiders put in a special package of plays to capitalize

on his athleticism.

”You always want to play and you always want to be in the

game,” Pryor said. ”If they think that’s the best way to go about

it, OK. Coach Allen is our leader. It’s on them. Whatever he wants

to do I’m all for it.”

Two of the four quarterbacks who entered training camp competing

for jobs are no longer with the Raiders. Matt Flynn, who had the

inside track to be the starter, was released in October and is now

in Green Bay helping the Packers fight for the NFC North title.

Fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson, who spent most of the season on

the practice squad, was signed by Tennessee to the active roster

earlier this week.

Oakland also could be in the market to draft a quarterback in

May and despite wasting draft picks to trade for Flynn and select

Wilson and paying Flynn $6.5 million in guaranteed money, Allen

believes strongly that the organization can identify the right

quarterbacks.

”Sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes mistakes are

made,” he said. ”But, I’m very confident in Reggie McKenzie and

the personnel staff of being able to evaluate football players –

quarterbacks, offensive linemen, defensive linemen.”

NOTES: S Charles Woodson (ribs) and LB Miles Burris (ankle)

returned to practice on a limited basis. … LB Sio Moore missed

practice with an illness. … DT Vance Walker (concussion) worked

out on the side and has a chance to play Sunday if he can practice

Friday.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org