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Here is a link to my Sunday column about the state of the Raiders, such as it is. The full column appears below:

I’m with the agent.

As the Raiders get ready for today’s game, prepare to get obliterated in their season finale against the Denver Broncos, I’ll say it again: I’m with the agent.

Which agent?

Terrelle Pryor’s agent, that’s who.

Nothing much is happening with the Raiders in a football sense — their season officially ends today, but has been over a long time. The Raiders don’t major in football. They major in drama. And this latest drama takes the cake.

Last Monday, Raiders’ coach Dennis Allen, who may or may not be the Raiders’ coach next season, announced he is starting Pryor in the final game. This after he put Pryor on the couch while rookie Matt McGloin went 1-5 as the starter and showed the entire world why no one drafted him.

Enter Pryor’s agent, Jerome Stanley. Here is what he told CSNBayArea.com, and if you’ve already seen his quotes, I apologize for being redundant, but they are too fabulous to pass up:

“I think they’re putting him in hopes that he fails,” Stanley said. “I think they’re putting him in hopes that he has a bad game, so he (Allen) can then justify the Matt McGloin situation. I think that’s what’s going on, I do, and it’s ridiculous. You have to understand the coach doesn’t want him (Pryor) to look good because if he looks good this week, it makes the past five weeks look like a bad decision.”

Stanley wants the league to understand Pryor can play. Pryor’s problem is the Raiders. There may be truth to that assertion. There certainly is truth in this — Pryor was Al Davis’ draft pick, and the current group is trying to move away from Davis, which makes Pryor expendable.

After the agent mouthed off, Allen shot back with his own wonderful quote: “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever frickin’ heard.”

I want to commend Allen on his choice of frickin’. It is not a locution I commonly employ, but works well in this context and has the added benefit of rhyming with chicken and nitpickin’.

Allen was saying the agent is full of beans, and many people agree that Stanley was way out of line. Except he wasn’t.

Allen, who is on the hot seat (have you ever actually seen a hot seat, not to mention the “bubble” players often find themselves on?), well, Allen is on that seat and he’s desperate to justify playing the loser McGloin when he had the loser Pryor healthy and ready to go. For the record, Allen also is a loser if you consider records relevant. His record is 8-23 in two seasons and soon will be 8-24.

The agent Stanley noticed his client was not playing and then noticed he will play against Denver, one of the powerhouse teams of the league. It’s like Allen is sending Pryor to an execution. “Go get ’em, Terrelle.”

Stanley also noticed the Raiders’ coaches have done a crummy job teaching his client — teaching is what coaches do. He noticed the Raiders barely adjust their offense to Pryor’s talents — running, throwing on the run. He noticed Allen thought it was smarter to develop McGloin than Pryor, although with McGloin there’s not much to develop. He’s a lifelong backup, if he’s lucky.

Pryor may have a career eventually. Who knows? But he’s certainly a better prospect than McGloin, even though rumors float out of Alameda that Pryor can’t learn the offense. That failure to learn, if it’s true, is on the coaches. Find a way to teach the guy. Find a way to reach him.

All this went into the agent’s thinking.

Now I’ll tell you how this stuff works. Stanley said what he said. He almost surely notified Pryor he would do that. Stanley then took the bullets Allen fired back and he took the media backlash which favored the coach at the expense of the agent. But Stanley got the point across — Pryor’s point. This is no way to treat a young, developing quarterback. And Stanley is dead right.

Pryor then distanced himself from Stanley, tweeted an apology. That’s so the Raiders are not sore at him. They’re sore at Stanley.

Stanley orchestrated the whole thing to protect Pryor and put the blame where it belongs, on Allen who dithered with at least three quarterbacks this season (hello, Matt Flynn; goodbye, Matt Flynn), and doesn’t have a clue at coaching up young quarterbacks. He may not have a clue at coaching up defense, his supposed area of expertise, but that doesn’t fall within the boundaries of this column.

All that leads to the next point. The Raiders are a circus.

“That’s nothing new,” you’re probably thinking. “The Raiders always are a circus.”

Sure, but they are a new kind of circus. In the past, they were the Al Davis Circus, late in his career Al leading the organization in weird directions. Now they are a leaderless circus. I mean, who exactly is in charge? The Raiders either drifted through the season or spun around aimlessly. You get the idea. They are Barnum and Bailey for sure, but no one is running the big top.

They lack two essential things a team needs.

First Essential Thing: They lack a stable, savvy head coach (Mark Davis has refused to renew the contracts of Allen’s coaches, never a good sign). One school of thought says Allen deserves one more year, although “deserves” is a curious word paired with him. Well, he deserves another year because the team has almost no talent and soon the Raiders will have money, and, please, just give Allen a shot.

Sure, but you’ll notice there is nothing positive about Allen in that reasoning. You cannot point to one good thing he’s done. He only gets another season, in this line of thinking, because it’s “fair,” not because he’s good.

Second Essential Thing: The Raiders lack a starting quarterback, and quarterback is usually the face of the team. We’re talking faceless.

To sum up — after today, the Raiders may fire Allen and hire a new sucker, and they almost surely will search for yet another quarterback. It boggles the mind, just frickin’ boggles the mind.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

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Comments

29 Comments

  1. russell

    While I don’t actually believe the coach is that hoping Pryor fails, because that really is frickin’ stupid, I do believe he is clueless. Allen has shown a commitment to nothing in particular, offense or defense, and doesn’t seem to really have a direction in mind for the team. While I am torn on the whole “one more year” thing, you are 100% correct as to why – it’s only out of “fairness”, and definitely not out of some grand hope or belief that the team is headed in the right direction to become successful. More and more I am of the “cut bait” philosophy, endure another setback and try again. Sigh.

    December 28th, 2013 10:07 pm

  2. russell

    Aside from the trainwreck of my first sentence, the thought stands.

    December 28th, 2013 10:07 pm

  3. Bobby

    This is a pretty unfair assessment of both the organization and Dennis Allen. To say Allen has done nothing is false. He has led this defense to have a top ten rushing defense which hasn’t been done since 2002. He has helped this team for the most part cut down on penalties something that has hampered this team in the past. Also he has had to do this while having the lowest salary in the nfl and no established QB. As for Pryor? Are you joking. He’s a good guy and all but with him in at QB all our stats were near dead last in the league. Once McGloin got the start we improved dramatically in points per game, passing yards per game, and most importantly passes of 20+ yards. We were dead last in passes of more than 20 yards with Pryor as the QB and with McGloin went to #1. And as for looking for a face of the franchise at QB unless your QB has won a Super Bowl every organization wants that player on their team. I don’t see how it’s a circus to be looking for that player to represent your franchise. And when Pryor was playing the game shifted completely. We ran plenty of read option plays to get Pryor running the ball. Only when he started to show wear and tear did the offense have to shift. This article showcases plenty of opinion but little fact.

    December 29th, 2013 4:12 am

  4. Steve

    Meh, I like a lot of what you have to say about the Raiders Lowell but you’re way off on this one. You say Pryor is better than McGloin while failing to acknowledge that McGloin has outplayed him, and the offense has performed better with him under center as pathetic as that may sound. You say it’s on the Raiders to teach Pryor how to run a pro offense, fine. Then I guess it’s on the Niners that Drunkenmiller couldn’t do it. And I guess it’s on every team who drafts a quarterback who fails to pan out; the player himself has no responsibility.

    There’s this narrative that Pryor is the hardest working team player, etc., mostly propagated by his tweets I guess. Then you read the ESPN feature on him and it says that his first two years in the league he was strictly a 9 to 5 guy, not some tone-setting workaholic. His own immaturity showed when he hid his injury before the Giant game then blamed his poor performance on it afterwards.

    You’ve been suckered. Not saying Pryor is a bad person but there are obviously reasons so many teams passed up on him. Outside of his good intentions and admittedly electric running ability there is little to separate his performance from that of Jamarcus Russell. In fact, Russell had a handful of games (at Tampa comes to mind) where he looked like much more of a pro quarterback than Pryor ever has. Sure McGloin hasn’t lit the world on fire, but his obviously superior grasp of the offense has led to increased points and better performances from Streater, Rivera, Holmes, and others. They’ve gone from dead last in the league in sack percentage to second under McGloin because he can run an offense and get rid of the ball. So much for Pryor’s mobility bailing out a bad offensive line! He’s making a nice career for himself as a backup in the league. Would you want to tie your coaching future to Pryor, running rollouts and throwing short slants all day? I sure wouldn’t. The Raiders 2014 starting QB is not on the roster.

    You’re better than this Lowell, just because the Raiders have been wrong about a lot of things that doesn’t make Pryor and his agent right on this one.

    December 29th, 2013 5:15 am

  5. Rebelscum74

    Good article, my only point is how do we know if Allen is a good coach when the talent has been so poor?

    December 29th, 2013 6:28 am

  6. Anthony

    Cmon man. Thats definitely a not top 10 statement, close to borderline retarted. No ones gonna set up a player for failure. Allen is just desperate to do somethin to create some type of excitement. For you to criticize Matt McGloin on a rookie season and a decimated offense line is even more retarded, give the guy credit he came in got his shot. We got nothin to play for why not get another look at Pryor. Quit stirrin up the pot and hating on my team.

    December 29th, 2013 8:00 am

  7. NeverWrong

    IF career back-up is Pryor’s NFL destiny, how about a trade to the 49ers? Jim Harbaugh, former successful quarterback, his coach then. With Crabtree, Boldin, Davis. . . . And a trade for Toby Gerhart. Gore is unbelievable but how much longer can he continue as he does? Seems like a waste for Gerhart to be on the bench in Minnesota. Seems he’d be a natural for the 49ers offense, for playing for Harbaugh, for lots of reasons.

    December 29th, 2013 9:23 am

  8. chris

    your mind is not boggled Lowell…….you like the Raider circus to stay in town, otherwise you’d have nothing to write about and nobody to call sucker……lol! And Pryors agent is the one who thinks Pryor will fail vs. the Broncos in the season finale and cost both of them a lot of money, that’s why he’s pissed. Why would Allen put him in to fail when his jobs on the line? Well the Gruden rumors are starting up again but I don’t think that would be smart for Mark Davis. Grudens overrated. AL Davis was still running the team when Gruden won in Oakland and the Super Bowl he won was with Tony Dungy’s team that he inherited. Gruden was average at best after that.

    December 29th, 2013 9:51 am

  9. Stan

    On the ‘net,there is a SI article on Hue Jackson. Like me,he cant figure why he was never offered any other HC or even OC job after having success in his career. He did a “I am in charge?” Al Haig like, when Al Davis died? SO what?..he meant that to honor the man who hired him he wasn’t going to let the team fall back. And I bet he wouldn’t have.

    So,Reggie did let them fall back…to the gutter. No,down the drain.
    Ugh, the money we could have saved cutting McFadden.

    If Mark had listened to me.. president of “THE REAL SONS OF AL DAVIS” group esq.limited, trademark,pat pen. The Raiders would be in the hunt to the Super Bowl.

    December 29th, 2013 10:19 am

  10. Stan

    Also,don’t mess with Stanley’s. First name,last name, whatever.

    Your learn to fight on any field growing up with that name.

    December 29th, 2013 10:43 am

  11. Mark M

    Interesting unique take. Makes some sense, especially if Allen knows he’s gone, which seems probable. I wonder if the starting QB decision was even his to make. But I still see that you avoid criticism of Reggie. I’m not sure why. For me, they are a package deal. I’m looking around at his draft picks and he appears to have filled the cupboards with nothing. Almost zero talent, maybe a few average starters. No difference makers. Not one. Why is Reggie a keeper, even for one more year? Seems just a delay of the inevitable, just like Allen’s firing was at the beginning of this season.

    December 29th, 2013 11:48 am

  12. Dennis

    I am not sure that I have ever heard an agent complain about his player playing. That might be once in a lifetime event for me.

    As for the rest of what you wrote, not Peyton Manning nor Tom Brady could have made this year’s Raider team any better than it was. They may be looking for a QB but they need soooo much more than that. No QB alive is going to change anything in Oakland without a lot more talent all the way around. I would save the QB money and start improving the rest of the team first.

    December 29th, 2013 11:55 am

  13. chris

    next year will be the one to watch what happens in Oakland. the Raiders have the most money to spend of any team in the NFL……68 million!! Plus draft picks. It’ll be easy to judge Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen’s worth after 2014. Hopefully they’ll improve the team and keep the Circus in town like AL Davis did while winning titles in his prime……..definitely makes the Raiders and the league more fun to watch.

    December 29th, 2013 12:53 pm

  14. Stan

    Chris,68 mill? Offer 60 mill to Harbaugh,heck,88mill… As all 49er fans know,Jim likes wearing black better then fire engine red.

    December 29th, 2013 1:49 pm

  15. Stan

    AND,Not only should Mark poach Jim,he should give him the right to hire a GM. Yep,a coach who can pick his GM. And how much you wanna bet he doesn’t bring Trent?

    You listening Mark?..better be…

    December 29th, 2013 1:53 pm

  16. Steve the cat rescuer

    This franchise is pathetic. One thing you can always count on at this point of the season is the “we” and “us” fan group weighing in. Hope springs eternal, regardless of how misguided it is.

    December 29th, 2013 2:01 pm

  17. MRO

    Bill Walsh’s record after his first two seasons: 8-24

    December 29th, 2013 9:00 pm

  18. CohnZohn

    MRO, I guess that means Dennis Allen is as good as Bill Walsh.

    December 29th, 2013 9:04 pm

  19. Dr. Feelgood

    You were at the Raider game. How did you get so lucky? Short straw?
    Have a look at the Patton catch in Arizona and think of it in that desperate moment in time- a truly “wow” 49er moment.
    JH makes some weird calls and I almost went apoplectic when he sent out the FG unit for a 56 yarder, but damn, that was a good call.

    December 29th, 2013 9:15 pm

  20. CohnZohn

    Dr. Feelgood, I didn’t go to Arizona because we’re trying to save money for the playoffs. I just booked Grant and me into Green Bay — don’t have a winter coat.

    December 29th, 2013 9:43 pm

  21. MRO

    I was waiting for that snarky response.

    Yeah, I’m really saying Dennis Allen is as good as Bill Walsh. Please.

    Something tells me after Walsh went 8-24 in his first two years you didn’t exactly predict greatness for him.

    The Raiders coaching carousel needs to stop. Give Allen at least one more year to lead a team that can actually compete financially, something they couldn’t do this year and last.

    December 29th, 2013 9:50 pm

  22. Johnc

    Bravo for this article. The Circus Raiders are the personification of a Salvador Dali painting containing fundamentally different and incongrous elements floating across the canvas.

    December 29th, 2013 9:52 pm

  23. Dr. Feelgood

    The Midwest. I grew up outside of Chicago. It has it’s charms, but oh, the winter. I don’t miss that at all. You’re gonna need a coat. If that’s all you need, it’s a mild winter.

    December 29th, 2013 10:03 pm

  24. MRO

    If a student is too stupid to learn math, that’s the teacher’s fault? Maybe Terrelle Pryor doesn’t have the mental acuity to learn an NFL offense. That’s Dennis Allen’s fault?

    Pryor’s agent said Allen actually wanted Pryor to fail in the Denver game. And Lowell Cohn agrees w/ the agent. Crazy, just plain crazy.

    December 29th, 2013 10:05 pm

  25. Johnc

    The projected US Weather Bureau forecast for the frozen tundra of Lambeau field next Sunday calls for a temperature range between 18 and 6 degrees Fahrenheit .

    December 29th, 2013 10:05 pm

  26. Stan

    MRO is so wrong. One thing that stood out about Walsh from the get go– even his first preseason before he ever coached a NFL regular season game- was that the 49ers suddenly were competing when they hadn’t for years. Once the season got going DeBerg suddenly kept the niners in the games,even won one or two. But,so many were close before DeBerg threw the inevitable INT. game killer. You could see Walsh had no talent players competing over their heads. Then,he drafted Joe. Joe walked on the field.

    Its a wonder 49er PR people never bring Steve Deberg back for Walsh doings. Steve was like that bridge to another era. Who knows? Maybe Walsh learned from Steve some heavy and deep meanings of player handling.

    December 30th, 2013 11:44 am

  27. MRO

    Stan – so wrong about what?! I wrote Dennis Allen and Bill Walsh had the identical record after their first two years. That’s called pointing something out. Thanks to Lowell, that suddenly became “Allen is as good as Walsh”. Who said that??

    December 30th, 2013 6:26 pm

  28. Stan

    MRO You know you were equating. And I was pointing out that there are stats, and damned lies.

    Also,when Joe stepped on the field? The Universe bent,time and space flowed under his gravity.
    Its all science. Can’t be denied.

    December 31st, 2013 1:10 pm

  29. MRO

    Stan – “damned lies”? What in the ___k are you talking about?

    Dennis Allen and Bill Walsh had identical records after their first two years. That’s a fact. Nobody is saying Allen is as good a coach as Walsh (at least I’m not). Might he become one? Yes, it’s possible.

    January 1st, 2014 6:21 pm

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