ALAMEDA, Calif. — Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen angrily denied the claims of Terrelle Pryor‘s agent, who said Allen was setting the quarterback up to fail by starting him in the season finale against the Denver Broncos.
“Well, first is, I’d say that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever frickin’ heard,” Allen said Tuesday. “No coach in their right mind — this isn’t ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.’ This isn’t made-for-TV drama. This is football, and we make our football decisions based solely on that. Nothing other than that.
No coach in their right mind — this isn’t ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.’ This isn’t made-for-TV drama. This is football, and we make our football decisions based solely on that. Nothing other than that.
” — Dennis Allen
“So I don’t really give it a lot of thought. I can’t control the ignorance that might come out of somebody else’s mouth, but I talked to Terrelle about it. It’s in situations like that that you have to separate the player from the agent. [Pryor] doesn’t have control. I don’t have control over those things that get said. It’s really, in my book, it’s really nothing. It’s one person’s opinion.”
Pryor’s agent, Jerome Stanley, told CSN Bay Area on Monday night that Allen was doing his player a disservice.
“I think they’re putting him in hopes that he fails,” Stanley said. “That’s what I think Coach is doing. I think they’re putting him in hopes that he has a bad game, so [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 is putting him in, he doesn’t want him to look good. And you can write that. He doesn’t want him to look good because if [Pryor] looks good this week, it makes the past five weeks look like a bad decision. [Allen] doesn’t want [Pryor] to look good, he wants him to look bad. That is what is going on.”
Pryor beat out Matt Flynn in training camp and started eight of the Raiders’ first nine games, going 3-5 and missing one after suffering a concussion. After Pryor suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee in a loss at the New York Giants on Nov. 10, Allen went with undrafted rookie McGloin, who started the past six games and went 1-5.
Flynn started against the Washington Redskins in Week 4 and lost, and was later released.
So when Allen said Monday that Pryor would start the finale, it raised just as many eyebrows as questions. Like, was it Allen’s decision, or was he pressured by either owner Mark Davis or general manager Reggie McKenzie to make the switch for a 4-11 team?
“It’s a coach’s decision all the way,” Allen said. “Obviously we talk — Reggie and I communicate about everything — and that was a decision that I made.”
Allen also said Pryor gives the Raiders the best chance to win, mostly because he now is fully healthy.
“Until he got to that point there really wasn’t a lot of decisions to be made,” Allen said. “I think this could be something that could spark our team.”
On Twitter, Pryor distanced himself from his agent’s comments. He also was asked Tuesday about Allen getting ripped by his agent.
“At first it was awkward, you know, because that’s my head coach,” Pryor said. “Me and Coach Allen talked, and he understands what went on and we’re on the same page.”
Asked whether he agreed with Stanley’s comments, Pryor paused.
“I’m very happy that Coach Allen gave me this opportunity [to start the finale],” Pryor said. “I know for a fact the man that Coach Allen is. That doesn’t even cross my mind, that possibility [of sabotage]. I know he wants to win, he talks about winning, and he has a good game plan, so we’re going in to try to beat the Denver Broncos.”
Pryor has a passer rating of 66.0 and has completed 135 of 234 passes (57.7 percent) for 1,591 yards with five touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Still, he has been picked off eight times since throwing his last touchdown pass. He also has rushed for 527 yards on 74 carries, including a QB-record 93-yard TD run against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 27.
McGloin, meanwhile, has a passer rating of 76.1 after completing 20 of 36 passes (55.6 percent) for 206 yards and an interception in the Raiders’ 26-13 loss at the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Allen said he hoped Pryor would not be distracted by the story.
“He was a very apologetic of it, said that it in no way was a reflection of his thoughts,” Allen said.
And by the time the game ends Sunday, Pryor will have had nine starts to six for McGloin.
“That’s a pretty good body of work to figure out exactly what we’ve got,” Allen said.
- Covered Raiders for CSNBayArea.com and Sacramento Bee for eight years
- Member of Pro Football Writers Association
- Previously worked at Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal and Sports Illustrated