Raiders demote QB Flynn to third string
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor returned to practice Wednesday and was working with the first team after missing last week's game with a concussion, while running back Darren McFadden is still sidelined by a hamstring injury that prevented him from finishing last week's game.
The Raiders had hoped Pryor would play last Sunday against Washington but decided to hold him out after he complained of sensitivity to light Saturday night — a classic concussion symptom.
Pryor is once again symptom free and appears on target to resume his starting role when the Raiders (1-3) host San Diego (2-2) on Sunday night.
He plans to be the same player he was before the injury, not worried about taking another hard hit like the one Wesley Woodyard delivered on Sept. 23 in Denver that led to the concussion.
"I just try to make the right decisions and the smart decisions and be a smart person and player," Pryor said. "Obviously, if there's three guys coming cramming down on me I don't want to challenge all three of those guys so get down. Just be myself and play football. That's how I have to play."
It will be a much-welcomed return after Raiders fans booed backup Matt Flynn repeatedly while watching the offense stagnate in a 24-14 loss to Washington.
Flynn, who was expected to start before losing the job in the exhibition season to Pryor, showed little pocket awareness. He threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and took seven sacks, while leading just one scoring drive.
That performance helped drop Flynn to third-team status behind undrafted rookie Matt McGloin, a fast fall after Oakland traded two draft picks to acquire Flynn and gave him $6.5 million in guaranteed money.
"It hasn't worked out like we anticipated and we've got to make decisions and we've got to move forward and continue to go," coach Dennis Allen said. "Matt's going to continue to battle and scratch and claw and I still believe that he's a capable quarterback."
Pryor had helped obscure many of Oakland's problems on offense with his athleticism that has allowed him to turn broken plays into big ones.
Pryor completed 65.4 percent of his passes the first three weeks for 624 yards and two touchdowns. He has also rushed for 198 yards on 26 carries and has not turned the ball over since throwing two interceptions in an opening week loss to Indianapolis.
"If you start trying to limit the things that he does, I think you decrease his effectiveness," Allen said. "You have to let him be the quarterback that he is and let him make plays."
McFadden initially got hurt in the first quarter of the loss to the Redskins and tried to come back later in the first half before shutting it down for the game. McFadden leads the Raiders with 215 yards rushing but has been hampered by a variety of injuries for his entire career.
McFadden has missed 23 full games over his first five seasons because of injuries. While Allen said it is too early to know whether McFadden will miss this game, hamstrings are tricky injuries for running backs and the Raiders will likely be cautious.
"No real updates, nothing really to report," Allen said. "He's got a hamstring, and he's trying to rehab it and get out there as fast as he can."
Marcel Reece was back at practice after hurting his knee in Sunday's loss and got some time at halfback instead of his usual fullback position. Reece started four games at halfback last season because of injuries, rushing for 261 yards and catching 20 passes for 195 yards. Reece has only two carries and six catches this season.
Rashad Jennings ran for 45 yards and caught eight passes for 71 yards with Reece and McFadden both sidelined in the second half last week.
NOTES: C Stefen Wisniewski (right knee) did not practice but the Raiders are hopeful he will play. ... WR Andre Holmes practiced for the first time after his PED suspension. ... FS Charles Woodson (non-injury) and DT Stacy McGee (shoulder) also did not practice. ... OL Menelik Watson returned to practice for the first time since knee surgery. ... The Raiders signed RB George Winn to the practice squad.
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