ALAMEDA (AP) — Matt Flynn might finally get another chance to start a game at quarterback in the NFL.
After being beaten out for starting gigs the past two preseasons in Seattle and Oakland, Flynn could start this week for the Raiders with Terrelle Pryor recovering from a concussion
Flynn got his first extensive work with the first team at practice on Wednesday since falling behind Pryor on the depth chart in training camp and could start Sunday against Washington.
“I’ve been in this spot before,” Flynn said Wednesday. “This isn’t new for me. I’m going to prepare like I am going to play. I have to do that to be ready just in case. I’m going to do everything I can to prepare like I would be the starter this week and see where it goes from there. Nobody knows.”
Pryor has not been cleared to return to practice yet after getting hurt late in Monday night’s loss in Denver when he was knocked out on a helmet-to-helmet hit by linebacker Wesley Woodyard on a quarterback draw. Pryor thought Woodyard should have been fined for the play but it was determined to be legal by the NFL because Pryor was a runner between the tackles.
Pryor remained in the game for two plays after the hit as coach Dennis Allen said he showed no signs of a concussion in the immediate aftermath. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said all indications are that the Raiders handled the situation properly.
The union routinely looks into how teams handle all concussions and spokesman Carl Francis said the NFLPA had no comment on the particulars of Pryor’s case.
Pryor was cleared to attend meetings and have physical activity but needs to pass two more hurdles to play. He was taking a concussion test later Wednesday to determine whether he can practice Thursday and then would still need to be cleared for contact.
“I think it was very mild, because I’m doing very well,” Pryor said. “They said I’m taking very good steps toward being able to play.”
Allen said the decision on Pryor’s status is out of his hands until the doctors determine Pryor is fully healed.
“When the medical personnel people feel he’s fine and he’s cleared to practice and play then he’ll be out there practicing and playing,” Allen said.
If Pryor is unable to play, the Raiders will have to once again retool their offense after making changes late in training camp when the more mobile Pryor won the starting job.
Using designed runs, read-option plays and scrambles, Pryor leads the Raiders in rushing through three games with 198 yards. Pryor is 12th in the league in rushing and his 7.6 yards per carry is tops among all qualifiers. He also has shown improvement in the passing game, throwing for a career-high 281 yards against Denver and committing no turnovers the past two games.
Flynn has started two games in his career when he was in Green Bay, going 24 for 37 for 251 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in 2010 at New England and then throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns against Detroit in the 2011 season finale for the Packers.
That performance helped make Flynn one of the top free agents in 2012 and he signed a deal with Seattle. But the Seahawks also used a third-round draft pick on Russell Wilson that offseason and Wilson won the starting job. With Wilson emerging as one of the league’s top young quarterbacks, the Seahawks traded Flynn in April to Oakland.
The Raiders gave up two draft picks in the deal and gave Flynn $6.5 million in guaranteed money as they planned for him to replace Carson Palmer as starter. But that changed when Flynn struggled in the exhibition season with a sore elbow and Pryor outplayed him to earn the starting job.
“Obviously, I don’t think it even needs to be said, I was disappointed,” Flynn said. “I prepared the best I could and things didn’t work out. It’s not my decision to make, it’s not my job to make those kinds of decisions. It’s something that you try to learn from. I can promise you it hasn’t shaken my confidence. I still believe I can be a really good player.”
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