Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (6) runs from Dallas Cowboys' Caleb McSurdy (56) in the fourth quarter of their preseason game at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Monday, Aug. 13, 2012. Dallas defeats Oakland 3-0. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff)
Coach Dennis Allen maintained Friday that the Raiders will have an open competition at quarterback between Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor, with possibly another candidate eventually entering the mix.
While Palmer is the high-priced incumbent, Pryor showed enough in last season's closing loss at San Diego to intrigue Allen.
"He showed some things not just from an athletic standpoint, but really from a control standpoint and leadership standpoint on the field that was something for us to build on going forward," Allen told reporters Friday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
"I've said that there'll be competition at the quarterback position as well as any other position on the team. That's the way you build a solid football team."
Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback Carson Palmer (3) looks to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. (Nhat V. Meyer/Staff)
In a subsequent interview with NFL Network, Allen conceded that "the plan" is for Palmer to remain the starter.
"They've got totally different skill sets, really," Allen said. "Carson Palmer is your traditional drop-back quarterback. But Terrelle has a unique skill set with his athleticism. So I am looking forward to watching Terrelle develop because he's still a young player and missed a lot of time."
During last season's 4-12 run, Palmer became only the second quarterback in Raiders history to pass for over 4,000 yards in a season, completing 61.1 percent of his passes (345 of 565) for 4,018 yards with 22 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.
Pryor, a former Ohio State star, finally saw action late in the season. He completed 13 of 28 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in the 24-21 season-ending loss at San Diego. He also had nine carries for 49 yards and a touchdown, providing a duel threat that's becoming more commonplace in the NFL.
"We won't go into camp with just two quarterbacks," Allen said. "If there are things we can to do to create competition at whatever position, we're going to do that." Jim Harbaugh, an assistant on the 2002 Raiders team, blasted Tim Brown's assertion last month that then-Raiders coach Bill Callahan "sabotaged" them in the Super Bowl. "(Brown) was not factual at all and I really think he should be ashamed of what he said," Harbaugh, now the 49ers coach, told Newsday's Bob Glauber. Callahan strongly disputed Brown's stance, to which Harbaugh added: "I totally concur with everything Bill Callahan said." Taiwan Jones will be converted from running back to cornerback, general manager Reggie McKenzie told ESPN, adding: "It fits his skill set. We're going to see how he does there." Jones played cornerback at Deer Valley High-Antioch and in his freshman year at Eastern Washington. He had six carries for 21 yards last season, and 16 carries for 73 yards in 2011. Defensive back Michael Huff's willingness to fill in with the injury-depleted cornerback corps earned applause from Allen. "For him to do what he did this year speaks volumes for who he is," Allen said. "It was an unselfish move, to go to a position where you're on an island. As the season went on, he got better. At the end of the day, his natural fit is at safety. But he'll do anything he can to help us be successful." Like Allen a year ago, new San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy came from the staff of Denver Broncos coach John Fox. "Those guys are good friends of mine. But when it's game day you're trying to win. Doesn't matter if it's your mom, grandmother or Mike McCoy," Allen said of facing his AFC West counterparts.