Terrelle Pryor's revival continues with Washington Redskins

By Brian McNally, The Sports Xchange
Former Oakland Raiders player Terrelle Pryor (2) runs the ball for a nine-yard gain in the first quarter against the New York Giants. File photo by Rich Kane/UPI
Former Oakland Raiders player Terrelle Pryor (2) runs the ball for a nine-yard gain in the first quarter against the New York Giants. File photo by Rich Kane/UPI | License Photo

RICHMOND, Va. -- Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor went from struggling to even to catch the ball as he learned a new position in 2015 to one of the NFL's better players at that position in 2016.

That transformation began in Cleveland, where Pryor took a huge leap forward and topped 1,000 receiving yards. He will try to build on that with the Redskins, where the former Ohio State and Oakland Raiders quarterback signed a one-year deal to prove last year was no fluke.


"I try not to live up to expectations," Pryor said. "I mean -- I want to live up to expectations, but I try not to put a limit on myself. I just want to go out every day and just become the best person, the best player, best father and best teammate I can be. And that's how I live my life."


Washington lost a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Pierre Garcon (San Francisco) and DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay) via free agency. The hope is Pryor and 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson can seamlessly fill that void, with tight end Jordan Reed and slot receiver Jamison Crowder adding to a dangerous group of weapons.

With Doctson, the concern is health. He missed all but two games last season with sore Achilles tendons.

For Pryor, the physical tools are obvious and few players work harder in the offseason, including stretches learning from Randy Moss in Charlotte. Pryor has also worked with Pittsburgh All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, who is obsessive about running perfect routes over and over during workouts. Moss and Brown have rubbed off on Pryor, who is making up for lost time at age 27.

His new teammates have noticed. Tight end Vernon Davis complemented Pryor, saying the receiver catches 400 balls a day off a JUGS machine. The two spent time during a walkthrough this week working together on drills off to the side.


Certainly, quarterback Kirk Cousins is excited about having a new 6-foot-5 target. That size adds a dimension that Washington's offense hasn't had in recent years with the smaller Garcon, Jackson and Crowder. And having a receiver who played quarterback at a high level doesn't hurt, either.

"Terrelle has picked up the system effortlessly," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.

"He asks good questions, has great logic when he is asking questions, wants to add more stuff for himself, like most quarterbacks would do. He's been outstanding really. I just like the fact that he's a very bright guy, understands coverages, understands where the ball should go and route concepts, which is very big.

"He's a very smart receiver. Now it's just about polishing up the little things and the details of each route and we're working with him on that."


Inside linebacker Nico Marley has a lineage to live up to, even if he's intent on paving his own way with the Washington Redskins.

The grandson of legendary Jamaican musician Bob Marley and the son of Rohan Marley, a former star in college at the University of Miami, Nico Marley doesn't look like he belongs on an NFL field. Not at 5-foot-8 and 200 pounds playing in the middle of the field.


But Marley earned a shot after Washington signed him as an undrafted free agent, and he excelled during rookie minicamp and again during OTAs. He's still a long shot to make the 53-man roster. Don't count him out, though. Marley was a four-year starter at Tulane, the Redskins have limited depth at inside linebacker and his size hasn't stopped him yet.

"You watch him at Tulane, he made almost every tackle," Gruden said.

"Then we brought him in here, said, 'Let's just bring this guy in for a workout for the rookie OTAs,' and then at the rookie OTAs, he made almost every tackle and had two interceptions and a forced fumble. And I said if anybody deserves a chance to crack the roster, it's somebody who's that productive."

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