Bengals Quarterback Battle: Terrelle Pryor As Backup?



Aug 28, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) rushes out of the pocket against the Oakland Raiders during the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cincinnati Bengals‘ 2015 training camp kicks off the team will be faced with a quarterback battle, but not the one some fans may want.  Andy Dalton‘s starting job is secure, but the backup job will be up for grabs.  The battle will be between last year’s fifth-round selection A.J. McCarron, veteran and former Bengal Josh Johnson, and former Buckeye Terrelle Pryor.

In a recent article from Stripe Hype, we asked fans who they’d like to see as the team’s backup quarterback for 2015.  After a week’s worth of voting, 66% of voters (276 of 416) said they’d like to see Pryor win the job.  This while Josh Johnson took home 19% of the votes (80) and A.J. McCarron grabbed only 14% of votes (60).

Obviously 416 votes hardly represents the entirety of Who Dey Nation, but it is surprising to see Pryor, who hasn’t played since 2013, as such a popular pick even amongst a small contingent of voters.

Pryor made quite the impression on the Bengals coaches so far since working out during the team’s rookie minicamp.  Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson called Pryor a “talented young man” while also saying:

"“The guy hit a lot of balls and did a lot of good things for the first time being back around me in a number of years. I was impressed with what he did.”"

Jackson expressed being intrigued by Pryor’s running ability and expressed a willingness to keep working with him as the offseason progresses.

Meanwhile Marvin Lewis lauded some of Pryor’s intangibles and acknowledged the advantage that Pryor has having played for Jackson before while he was coaching in Oakland in 2011.

"“Terrelle has a presence. This is not his first rodeo. He’s been through things, he’s been with Hue before, so he has a calmness about him. He’s actually a role model for some of these six or seven other veteran players [who are in the minicamp] to watch how a guy who came into the NFL in 2011 is looking to try to get an opportunity — not even to make the team yet, but to get an opportunity to make the team. And the urgency to his step. That’s a good role model for these young guys to observe.”“He has an urgency that they need to learn, and that goes to show how important this is to him.”"

Lewis’ comment regarding Pryor’s “urgency” should be especially intriguing for fans.  Lewis’ recognition of the fact that the team needs to play with desperation and urgency this year is a good thing; maybe even a necessary thing if the Bengals are to get over their playoff woes. It’s something they’ve seemingly been missing in recent years.

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Terrelle Pryor is far from fulfilling his goal of making the team and even further from earning the backup job; the team seems to be targeting A.J. McCarron for the job.  Yet if Lewis values Pryor’s intangibles as much as could be inferred from the prior statement, then Pryor may already have a leg up on the competition in this way.  His dynamic ability as a runner will separate him from the team’s other quarterbacks, so if he can prove he’s improved as a thrower, winning a spot on the team and possibly the backup job may not be as far from Pryor’s grasp as some may presume.  We’ll find out what the former Ohio State Buckeye has to offer come August’s training camp.

Next: Predicting the 2015 AFC Playoff Picture