Let's face the facts.
Rookie minicamp highlighted a vacancy with storylines that led to an over-inflation of attention being brought to quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor this, Pryor that. There was some love for John Peters, who is a local product that towers at eight-foot-forever. Other storylines included Paul Dawson being a replica of Vontaze Burfict, Andrew Whitworth dispatching his frustration to help educate guys like Jake Fisher, and Mario Alford being the fastest human being since Dr. Hank McCoy.
Pryor hijacked the storylines when he signed with the Bengals, and for good reason. He's a product from the Ohio State University, so fandom is unrivaled. Scott Bantel wrote a commentary arguing why Pryor makes the 53-man roster. I don't think he will.
Helps with PATs
Scott provided an excellent argument for Pryor on this, and within this context, one must concede. In fact, looking at realistic scenarios, Pryor could perform a read-option with options (hence the word "option" in "read-option"); hand off to Jeremy Hill (with Domata Peko lead-blocking of course) for a power up the demon's belly, lob the football to one of their tight ends on a fade/flag route, or have Pryor sweep around the edges for a long-strided conversion.
My only counterpoint... how many times will the Bengals actually go for two?
Logic dictates NFL teams should attempt more two-point conversions from the two-yard line, as opposed to a one-point kick from over 30 yards out. Hilariously, logic and NFL coaches, aren't mutually exclusive. Teams will continue to go for one-point conversions in most scenarios; though there will be an uptick of two-point attempts, I'm sure, based on the emotions of the game (not based on strategy).
Conversions for 32-33 yard kicks are still significantly accurate (well above 90 percent in 2014). While your attempted day-dream to apply realism remains hopeful for more exciting PAT conversions, NFL coaches love being conservative; let's get the easier one-point PAT rather than the more difficult two. And yes, going for two will still be more difficult. Just imagine how many frustrated Sundays afternoons you've felt when the Bengals couldn't convert on a third and one. More than you're comfortable with, I'm sure. Imagine it being harder still with a compressed field.
The Third Quarterback Rule:
Let me reiterate a point that we made last week.
During the lockout summer of 2011, the NFL made a minor change that redefined an approach for many teams' rosters. The NFL dropped the inactive emergency quarterback rule and expanded the gameday roster from 45 players to 46.
Since then, the Bengals have stopped carrying a third-string quarterback -- until they surprisingly activated AJ McCarron off of the Physically Unable to Perform list last December. The last time Cincinnati entered the regular season with three quarterbacks was 2010 -- Carson Palmer, J.T. O'Sullivan and Jordan Palmer.
Let's not shut the door on this, however. The Bengals, owned by a guy who asked about Chris Harrington on Hard Knocks, could enter the regular season with three quarterbacks, sure. It just doesn't make sense.
The Bengals will need to consider roster spots for injured players already, with linebacker Vontaze Burfict (microfracture) and Andre Smith, along with Cedric Ogbuehi recovering. These players won't require a roster spot while on PUP, but eventually they'll need a spot for activation... and the Bengals aren't going to allow a third-string quarterback to consume a valuable roster spot when they've given no indications of doing that since the rule changes. Even if Pryor makes the 53-man roster, it won't be for very long. Since the quarterback rule in 2011, teams are far more likely to use a roster spot to sign a player to an understaffed position rather than on a third quarterback.
Where does he list on the depth chart?
What if Pryor makes the team as Andy Dalton's primary backup?
Competition is necessary, otherwise you never know the value you have with players that you've already penciled in for a roster spot. That being said:
Pryor v McCarron? Please, stop. McCarron is the first quarterback that acquired the third-string label since the league transformed the rule in 2011. Cincinnati, who worked out Pryor in October 2014, elected not to sign him... despite McCarron rehabilitating on a roster that was two-QBs deep. Has anything changed?
In the end, McCarron has to collapse and Pryor has to take the world by the horns for Cincinnati to even entertain the possibility.
However, keep in mind why Pryor is here...
Remember how he came to Cincinnati
Let me make one thing abundantly clear -- we shouldn't downgrade or underscore the effort and heart that Pryor is putting into this second-chance opportunity. It's insanely rare for a young quarterback to become a masterful technician in the NFL; development takes time and wasn't until the 21st century (and the exploding cost of quarterback contracts) that forced unprepared passers under center with one goal -- become the face the franchise and take us to the Super Bowl.
How terrifying is that for a 21-year-old, who is, by the law of the land, mature enough to drink alcohol (well...).
Maybe this is Pryor's maturation point -- the moment experienced quarterbacks look back on and say, "that's when the game slowed down for me."
On the other hand, there are two facts to consider here here:
Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was the head coach for the Oakland Raiders, who used a third-round pick to select Pryor in the 2011 supplemental draft. There is a relationship there. Without it, Pryor, most likely, never receives a tryout during the Bengals' rookie mincamp a few weeks ago.
As a lifelong Buckeyes fan, Pryor holds a special place in my own beating heart. His maturity and development has finally tracked a course where it makes arguments like this entertaining. Making the 53-man roster is a significant hurdle for him to clear... and if his arm is full of accurate torpedoes that hit receivers without breaking stride, scoring 20 touchdowns in the preseason, it might not even be enough.