What’s up with Terrell Pryor?
The addition of Terrell Pryor was thought to be a shrewd move that would add much needed size & strength to the Redskins receiving core. Pryor passed on a five year $8 million a year contract from Cleveland, in order to potentially increase is value in free agency in 2018. The signing of the 6’4 converted quarterback, was done in hopes of offsetting the departures of Pierre Garçon & DeSean Jackson. The veterans combined for over 2000 receiving yards in 2016 with the Redskins. The thought was Pryor’s 2016 production, in which he accumulated over 1000 yards with the Browns could easily be replicated. I’m Washington. Add in Kirk Cousins as his new QB and it seems like a fantasy owners dream. Many experts predicted the Ohio State product would put up at least 1000 receivering yards in Washington this year. Pryor caught passes from five different quarterbacks with the Browns in 2016, including a few passes from former Skins QB Robert Griffin. Thus far Pryor has only 13 catches for 186 yards and a TD for the Skins. That puts Pryor on pace for less than 800 yards & 4 TD’s for the year. That isn’t the type of production the Skins brass envisioned, after signing the converted receiver to a one year $6 million dollar prove it contract. Something Redskins fans need to keep in mind, is that Pryor only played one full season at wide receiver in his career. Although he’s still raw as a route runner, Pryor just needs to be incorporated into the Redskins offense in a more creative way. This is where Coach Jay Gruden needs to spend some late nights in his lab, adding trick plays for Pryor to the playbook. One thing the Chiefs game showed was the effectiveness of using deceptive formations such as the Wildcat, Read Option and Jet Sweep run plays. These are not just college gimmick plays, NFL teams have shown they can be run effectively with the right players. The fact that Pryor was a former quarterback, adds intrigue and a potentially dynamic dimension to the wildcat formation.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Wildcat Formation, I’ll explain. The Wildcat formation describes a formation in which the ball is snapped not to the quarterback, but directly to a player of another position lined up at the quarterback position. (In most systems, this is a running back, but some playbooks have the wide receiver, fullback, or tight end taking the snap. The Wildcat features an unbalanced offensive line and looks to the defense like a sweep behind zone blocking. A player moves across the formation prior to the snap. However, once this player crosses the position of the running back who will receive the snap, the play develops unlike the sweep. In regards to the Redskins, Gruden could use Pryor’s 6’4 frame and passing experience to confuse opposing defenses. In Cleveland, the Browns used Pryor in many ways to keep defenses off balance. On occasion the former Ohio State quarterback actually threw out of the Wildcat, which is rare for this formation. For the most part this formation is an alternative way to run the ball. With players such as Jamison Crowder, a healthier Jordan Reed & Chris Thompson on the field, Pryor could create some magic on the field. In Pryor’s case, he has years of experience under center, which could give him a chance to make plays as a dual threat option. This could be a huge third down option for the Redskins arsenal. I could envision a play in which Cousins lines up on the outside, Thompson and Crowder in the backfield, Reed in the slot, with Pryor lining up under Center. Pryor could throw, run, handoff or set up a true read option in this look. I don’t claim to be an offensive guru, but I’ve seen a ton of college and pro teams use these types of formations with varied success. Kansas City’s Head Coach Andy Reid has shown what having the right players can do, when implementing creative offensive formations. Nobody envisioned the Chiefs having a high powered offense this year, after being a dink and dunk offfense for years. Adding players like WR Hill & rookie RB Hunt (leads league in rushing) allowed Reid to maximize the athletic duos strengths, which is the main reason why KC is 5-0. Having Pro Bowler Travis Kelce running read option plays didn’t hurt either. I agree Pryor’s #1 issue has been drops and not running routes to completion, but the only way to build the receivers confidence is by putting the ball in his hands more often. The bottom line is if Gruden doesn’t find more ways to get Pryor involved, this could be a mediocre season for the converted QB. If Doctson can emerge as a go to target for Cousins, this could spell doom for Pryor. With Grant showing improvement and getting extended playing time, Crowder slowly on the mend, as well as some promising receivers on the practice squad(multiple WR’s 6’3), Pryor will only get so many chances to step up before he’s replaced. The long TD pass from Cousins to Pryor against KC was a good start, but he disappeared for the rest of that game. In the end I truly believe Pryor can be an elite receiver, but he’ll have no chance of even being decent until Gruden utilizes the receivers strengths. The 49ers game seems to be a great game to use some trick plays, considering they rank in the bottom of the league in defense. I really want to start the “Optimus P” chants Redskins Nation, but sadly until Pryor makes more plays this will not happen. Check back later this week for the “San Francisco 49ers Primer”. With former Redskins O- Coordinator Kyle Shanahan and WR Pierre Garçon returning to town, this could get interesting! HTTR🏹🏈