OAKLAND (AP) — Terrelle Pryor promises the San Diego Chargers will see a completely different quarterback than the one who made his first NFL start in last year’s season finale.
The footwork is more polished, the passes have more zip and accuracy, and Pryor has put to rest questions whether he can play quarterback in the NFL.
“I made big strides and big steps,” Pryor said. “I have to keep on working hard and understand you’re never good enough.”
The Chargers (2-2) will see the new and improved version of Pryor on Sunday night when they visit the Oakland Raiders (1-3).
The Raiders also will see a different version of San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers has always been a bit of a gunslinger, never afraid to throw the ball deep or into coverage while seeking the big play. That style also led to Rivers committing 47 turnovers the past two seasons, tied for the second most in the NFL over that span. Under new coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Rivers has played a safer brand of football, completing more than 80 percent of his passes over the past three weeks.
“We’re still getting some chunk plays, but there is some more high percentage mixed in there,” Rivers said. “I think the biggest thing is throw completions and get first downs. When a shot presents itself, we just have to make sure we capitalize.”
The start time has shifted from 1:25 p.m. to 8:35 p.m. thanks to a baseball playoff game being played the previous night at the Coliseum. It takes about 18 hours to convert the stadium from baseball to football, leading to the late kickoff. While East Coast teams regularly start prime-time games at that hour, it’s unusual for West Coast teams — and their fans.
“We have to tee it up whenever they tell us to tee it up,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “Let’s not build in an excuse. Let’s go play. ... We’ll adjust the schedule a bit at the end of the week, but we’ll be ready to go.”
Darren McFadden missed a third straight day of practice because of a hamstring injury, making it all but certain the Oakland Raiders will be without their top running back for Sunday night’s game against San Diego. McFadden has been sidelined since getting hurt early in the first half of Oakland’s 24-14 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sept. 29. He is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.