Head-to-head: Steelers CB William Gay vs. Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor
October 27, 2013 12:00 AM
Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, a Jeannette High School graduate.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Cornerback William Gay knows the pratfalls of watching television, a practice that is prohibited by his secondary coach, Carnell Lake. Seem strange?
Lake uses the expression "watching television" to describe what happens when one of his cornerbacks gets caught looking at the quarterback instead of following his receiver. It usually doesn't have a good ending.
"He preaches that if you get caught watching TV, which is watching the quarterback, two things are going to happen -- you're going to watch the quarterback throw to your man and you're going to watch him score a touchdown," Gay said. "He says if you want to watch television, watch it at home."
That is something Gay and the rest of the secondary doesn't want to do today against Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who is the seventh-ranked passer in the AFC but leads all conference quarterbacks with 251 rushing yards.
Pryor presents a dual threat for the Steelers defense, which has allowed just one touchdown in the past nine quarters.
That's because the front seven has to know where he is at all times because Pryor can run just as easily as he can throw. But the secondary can't afford to even peek at what the former Jeannette High School quarterback is doing because Pryor will pull up and try to find an open receiver if he starts to run.
Trying to defend the dual-threat, multi-purpose quarterbacks that have become the rage in the NFL is nothing new for the Steelers and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Last year, they held Robert Griffin III to 8 yards on six carries and Mike Vick to 16 yards on five carries in victories against the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles.
Two weeks ago, rookie quarterback out of West Virginia Geno Smith of the New York Jets was held to 8 yards on three carries.
While Pryor (6 feet 5, 233 pounds) is significantly bigger than any of those quarterbacks, he is nearly as fast as Griffin. At Ohio State, Pryor was clocked at 4.3 in the 40-yard dash and was the fastest player on the team.
"You can't necessarily say you're going to beat on him as much as we tried to beat on RG3," safety Ryan Clark said. "I'm not sure that he would melt under that type of physicality."
Despite his size and speed, Pryor has not been able to elude the pressure he has been under from opposing defenses. He has been sacked 20 times, including nine in the most recent defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs. Most of the pressure was being applied by outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who had 3½ sacks.
That's what the Steelers will try to do against Pryor -- pressure him from the outside and force him to step into the pocket. They tried to do the opposite last week against Baltimore's less-mobile Joe Flacco, pressuring him from the inside and forcing him out of the pocket.
"They're both pretty big, and [Pryor] is bigger than any of those other guys," LeBeau said. "As I recall, he didn't lose too many games in college because of that. They couldn't get him on the ground. It's definitely going to be one of our big challenges, when he does keep it, to get him on the ground."
That's why Gay and the other players in the secondary can't afford to be looking into the backfield -- or watching television -- against Pryor.
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