Giants confident they can stop Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor
He's been called the fastest quarterback in the league, the best athlete some have ever seen, and the most dangerous weapon any offense possesses. And those are comments that came from the Giants' locker room Wednesday. It's pretty clear that if they hope to defeat the Raiders on Sunday and keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Giants will have to make stopping Terrelle their top Pryor-ity.
But underneath the surface of those respectful sound bites, it's obvious that the Giants don't exactly fear the fleet-footed flyer. Although they have had trouble containing some of the more dynamic running quarterbacks they have faced this season -- Michael Vick ran for 79 yards in less than a half against them, more than Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte or LeSean McCoy had in any of their full games facing the Giants -- they seem to believe that Pryor's rawness as a quarterback will allow them to cook him up to order.
"Give the boy his credit,'' defensive tackle Mike Patterson said, "but we still see him as a young quarterback developing. He's getting there, I'm not trying to take anything away from him, but he's still got some ways to go.''
Justin Tuck even said that Pryor reminds him more of a young Vince Young than of Cam Newton, the quarterback to whom he is most often compared because of his speed and body type. Tuck smiled and pleaded the fifth when asked where that difference lies, but it's clear he was talking about one's ability to throw the football well and the other's inability to do the same. Young isn't even in the league anymore.
"He's still young,'' Tuck said of Pryor, 24. "He's not as polished as some of the other guys are in the passing attack, but he is as deadly or maybe even more deadly than any other running quarterback that we've faced.''
The 6-4 Pryor is the Raiders' leading rusher with 485 yards, which includes a 93-yard touchdown. He has the most rushing yardage of any of the new generation of mobile quarterbacks, the 15th most of any player. He averages 7.7 yards per run and 7.26 yards per pass attempt. He's completed 61.1 percent of his passes for five touchdowns but has thrown nine interceptions.
"I remember him saying one time that he'd never really been taught how to pass, he just relied on his athletic ability,'' former Raiders teammate Brandon Myers said. "I think that's one thing he is working on. He's got all the tools, that's for sure.''
Former Ohio State teammates who knew Pryor way back when echoed that analysis.
"I don't think there's any surprise that his weakness is accuracy throwing the ball,'' Giants center Jim Cordle said, while saying Pryor has gotten better at it. "He has come a long way as a throwing quarterback.''
Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins added: "His arm wasn't the best, but he can make a throw if he sees the guy is open.''
Pryor's one dimension goes in one direction, too. The Giants, like other teams, have noticed he is much less effective when he is running to his left.
"Stat-wise I guess you can say that he's horrible throwing to his left,'' Patterson said.
"He doesn't like to throw to his left or run to his left,'' Hankins said. "Everything is to his right.''
Pryor also lacks what Vick and Newton and other premier running quarterbacks in the league are lacking: a strong supporting cast.
"You got Michael Vick and you got McCoy going to the flat, so that takes out one of your guys,'' linebacker Jacquian Williams said of the familiar Eagles combination. "You got DeSean Jackson. You got legitimate guys that are helping him and it's just him against d-linemen. We've got good, athletic, fast d-linemen, but not compared to 4.4 speed. So that's all it comes down to.''
Against Pryor, especially if running back Darren McFadden (hamstring) is unable to play, the Giants will be able to bring their speed players up to the line of scrimmage and create a cage for him.
"We're definitely going to contain him, keep him in the pocket so our d-linemen can play,'' Williams said. "We're going to take pride in that so our d-line can do what they do best . . . We do our part, the back row, we'll do our job of keeping him and let our d-line go hunt.''
That would be just fine with Patterson.
"You want to get him to the ground, tackle him up, get some sacks and put pressure on him,'' he said. "You want him to be sore, so he doesn't think about running.''
If Pryor isn't thinking about running, the Giants know that doesn't leave him with many options.