Reggie McKenzie

GM McKenzie praises Pryor

Published: Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6C

ALAMEDA – An eventful Raiders offseason orchestrated by general manager Reggie McKenzie included a trade for a starting quarterback with arm trouble and Al Davis' final draft pick taking the helm behind center.

McKenzie also drafted a quarterback in the fourth round and cut him in favor of an undrafted free agent.

And he is fine with that.

Talking with reporters Wednesday for the first time since training camp began in late July, McKenzie made it clear he's willing to adjust on the fly to put the best 53 players on the roster.

When Terrelle Pryor takes the field Monday night against the Denver Broncos, McKenzie can hardly wait to see what happens next.

"I think he energizes more than just the fan base," McKenzie said. "He energizes his teammates and anybody that's watching. Everybody likes to see big plays. And he's a big-play guy."

The Raiders' housecleaning was so thorough it invited speculation that McKenzie was sweeping out anybody associated with the previous regime. A sign held by a fan at O.co Coliseum had a photo of Pryor and Davis with the message "Al was right."

McKenzie said it's more about being good than being right.

"Good players will stay here. Point blank," McKenzie said. "It's not about driving off players who were here and bringing in our own guys. It's about trying to put together a good nucleus and core group of guys and then funnel in players that can complement them and put together the best team.

"Whoever plays will be whoever the coach thinks gives us the best chance to win. And that's what it's all about."

McKenzie said Pryor has progressed "by leaps and bounds" since last season and said Matt Flynn, the projected starter at quarterback entering training camp, was slowed by a sore throwing elbow.

"His arm didn't fare him well in the preseason," McKenzie said.

Although Flynn had similar arm issues the previous preseason with Seattle, McKenzie said "it wasn't a major concern" at the time of the trade in April, adding, "If it was, we probably would have looked into it deeper."

As for cutting quarterback Tyler Wilson, the highest-drafted player to be waived by an NFL team, McKenzie said he was simply beaten out by undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. Wilson cleared waivers and is on the Raiders' practice squad.

"The best man wins," McKenzie said. "But we have Tyler here, and he's here to learn and get better. We see him as a down-the-line player for us."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jerry McDonald



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