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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.