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Raiders' Terrelle Pryor still has much room to improve

  • Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

ALAMEDA — Maybe you are a Raiders fan. Maybe you are getting excited about Terrelle Pryor and his quarterbacking. Maybe you are thinking that by the end of this season or early next, Pryor will be an awesome NFL force along the lines of Colin Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III.

Maybe you should calm down.

No question, Pryor is providing the Raiders just what they needed in his first season as a starter — a welcome dose of bright and buoyant optimism. He's won two of his last three starts, including Sunday's victory over Pittsburgh that featured his yowza-wowza 93-yard touchdown run.

Also, while Pryor's passer rating of 77.2 in six games might not be spectacular, it is better than the current passer ratings of Tom Brady (74.9) and Eli Manning (68.4).

It is only natural, then, for you to wonder where Pryor stands on his development timeline as we compare him with the more established names in the wave of new quarterbacks.

Sorry. Raiders coach Dennis Allen does not want you to do that.

“The tendency to compare goes on outside of this building,” Allen said Monday. “Our focus is how do we take Terrelle Pryor's skill set ... he's Terrelle Pryor, he's unique. He's not somebody else, that somebody might want to compare him to.”

That is a smart approach. It is also not the approach I intend to follow.

The NFL is all about comparisons — especially on the weekends when teams line up to compare themselves against each other, with violence involved. The NFL also publishes weekly statistics that compare players, at every position and in every category.

In my mind, therefore, it is fair game to gauge where Pryor is in relation to the other quarterbacks of his generation. Pryor is 24. That makes him a year older than Washington's Griffin, a year younger than the 49ers' Kaepernick and the same age as Seattle's Russell Wilson and Indianapolis' Andrew Luck.

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