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Oakland Raiders Position Battles to Watch: Backup Quarterback

The Oakland Raiders know who their starting quarterback for the 2012 season is. After trading away first and second round draft picks to get Carson Palmer, the Raiders could not afford to bring in anyone that could challenge for a starting role. Instead, they signed a guy in Matt Leinart, who will challenge Terrelle Pryor for the number two quarterback position.

Pryor is entering his second season with the Raiders, but has yet to play an NFL snap. Last season, Pryor did not see the field in the pre season and was suspended for the first five games of the regular season. When his suspension was lifted, Pryor looked prepared to play a role in the Raiders offense. He lined up to take the snap in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs but was called for a false start. For whatever reason, Hue Jackson never gave Pryor another opportunity to play in an NFL game.

Matt Leinart entered the NFL draft as one of the best college quarterbacks in years. He was the leader of a USC team that was unstoppable (unless they were playing Vince Young in the Rose Bowl, that is). Leinart was drafted into what appeared to be the perfect fit. He was set to take over for an aging Kurt Warner and play with one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. Despite being in a good situation to succeed, rumors were that Leinart spent too much time partying and not enough time in the film room. Four years in, Leinart was labeled a bust and was cut after losing the starting job to Derek Anderson. Leinart then spent the next two years with the Houston Texans backing up Matt Schaub.

This competition really should not be much of a competition. Leinart is once again in a great position to succeed. He has way more NFL experience than Pryor, automatically making him the better option in a pinch. But besides that, Leinart simply makes the most sense. He played in Houston the past two seasons, the same place that the Raiders new offensive coordinator spent his last two seasons. Leinart already knows the playbook and can spend his time building a rapport with his receivers, rather than trying to learn the offense. In addition, he has backed up starter Carson Palmer in the past when they were both at USC. I would be shocked if Pryor was able to beat out Leinart for the back up gig, but if he can, it is a great sign for the future of the Raiders.

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