With running back Darren McFadden still listed as questionable by the Raiders and Oakland being uncertain as to whether or not he will play on Sunday, the Chiefs’ greatest worry on defense is quarterback Terrelle Pryor. His ability to hurt a defense with his arm and his feet make him the biggest threat to ending the Kansas City Chiefs’ winning streak.
The Pryor Issue
Pryor is not an unstoppable force like Michael Vick once was but he can be dangerous if left unchecked. In four starts, Pryor has thrown for 845 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 229 on 37 carries. He has also thrown two interceptions. There were several times last week when the middle of the field was gaping wide open for Kansas City defensively and Tennessee quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick made the Chiefs pay by running the ball. If Fitzpatrick can hurt Kansas City with his legs, Pryor certainly can. The Chiefs have to scheme differently for Pryor.
Scheming to Beat Pryor
A problem arises when a defense exclusively commits a spy to limit a quarterback’s running ability, however. That problem is the fact that the defense now has one less man in coverage who isn’t rushing the passer either. Essentially the defense is playing 10 on 11. Kansas City must be selective in when it uses a spy so it doesn’t leave itself out-manned in pass coverage or pass rush.
There are times when the Chiefs will have to back off their usually aggressive pass rush and play a game that is designed to make Pryor uncomfortable but keep him in the pocket. The edge rushers for Kansas City must keep contain and not let Pryor wide of them on the field. If they can limit Pryor’s running and force him to make reads downfield, their chances of having another stellar defensive performance increase.
Pryor isn’t a world-beater but he is the Raiders’ best chance in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. If the Chiefs want to end the streak of home losses to Oakland dating back to 2006, they have to keep him from having a huge game.