Terrelle Pryor is Afraid of Spiders, Sharks and Failure
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - One of the more interesting matchups to focus on when the Eagles open up the regular season against the Washington Redskins on Sunday will be between two newcomers, speedy Philadelphia cornerback Ronald Darby and Kirk Cousins' new WR1, Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor, the ex-Penn State and Oakland Raiders quarterback turned rangy NFL receiver, broke out in Cleveland last season and ended up inside the Beltway but Philadelphia was also on the radar.
"I believe so," Pryor answered when asked if the Eagles had any interest in him during the free-agency period. "...then, something happened in house over there. I don't exactly know."
That something was likely the availability of Philadelphia's eventual target, Alshon Jeffery, whose projected asking price dropped due to a buyer's market as well as injury concerns. The Eagles were able to get Jeffery on a one-year, make-good deal and the Redskins did the same with the athletic Pryor.
Either way, Pryor is happy with how things worked out because it meant Kirk Cousins would be throwing him the football, a signal caller who has passed for over 4,000 yards in the past two seasons and nearly hit the 5,000 mark last season.
Now with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon moving on, the 6-foot-5 Pryor fits into a high-volume receiving group that also includes star tight end Jordan Reed and an excellent slot receiver in Jamison Crowder.
"I know coming here [to Washington] was a good decision," Pryor said. "I really wanted to play with Kirk, he's a great quarterback. That's what I was looking for, to play for a good quarterback. All I need was another year to get my feet back on the ground and show that I can dominate and be better than last year. I will be."
Last year Pryor caught 77 balls for 1,007 yards in his first full-time season at the position despite catching the football from four different, less-than, awe-inspiring QBs, Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan. He started with three catches for 68 yards in a season-opening loss to the Eagles.
He gets to start against Philadelphia again this time and Pryor is intent of making sure things work out.
"My biggest fear in life in life ...I don't like spiders and I don't like sharks even though it's my favorite animal," he joked. "What I'm getting to is another fear that's hard on me like that is failure. You don't want to fail and you don't want to fail your teammates. ...That's kinda what motivates me."
-Every Eagles player was able to practice today with the exception of rookie CB Sidney Jones on the PUP List. The following were listed on the injury report as full participants: QB Nick Foles (right elbow), LB Najee Goode (forearm), DE Brandon Graham (triceps), S Corey Graham (hamstring), LB Jordan Hicks (quadricep), CB Jalen Mills (thumb), DT Destiny Vaeao (calf)
-Rookie RB Corey Clement took with the first-team on kickoff returns as the upback in front of Wendell Smallwood. That could mean he's going to be active on Sunday,
-Jay Gruden admitted on a conference call that his offense is built around No. 86 (star tight end Jordan Reed) and Doug Pederson spoke of how difficult that matchup is for the Eagles.
"I mean, he's a tremendous athlete, obviously a great tight end," Pederson said. "He's a receiving tight end, obviously. Can stretch the field. Great hands. Great route runner. Look at his body of work. We have to keep an eye on him and where he lines up, whether he's detached or attached to the formation."
Gruden admitted Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has done one of the better jobs of checking Reed over the years.
-Darby changed numbers from 35 to 41, claiming the latter was "the skinnier number."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen