Terrelle Pryor: Decoy Game

Terrelle Pryor had his breakout game last week. Could his biggest role this week be as a decoy?

Last week, I predicted that Week 3 would be "The Terrelle Pryor Game." Boy was I right.

Pryor was 3 - 5 passing the ball, for 35 yards.

He ran the ball 4 times for 21 yards.

He was targetted 14 times in the passing game, catching 8 balls for 144 yards.

What a game it was.

With Josh Gordon unlikely to return to the team, Pryor has quickly become the identity of the team.

The combination of Pryor's flexibility and athletic ability has been unlocked by the offensive creativity of Head Coach Hue Jackson. 

All of that should have led to a victory. Three missed field goals held back some of the excitement of Pryor's game.

The most positive thing for Browns fans has to be that Pryor's production didn't just come from gimmicks and gadgets. Instead, Pryor looked very good as a receiver with rookie Cody Kessler throwing him the ball.

For fantasy football players, Pryor is the epitome of excitement. He is a threat to score at anytime, got the ball in his hands a majority of the game and has speed and size. Many fantasy players will have Pryor in their lineup this week but is it a mistake?

The same way that last week I predicted Pryor's breakout game, this week I believe his primary role will be as a decoy.

That isn't to say I don't think he won't be productive at some level but not at the fantasy level he was last week.

Instead, expect Pryor to be used to draw attention away from where Jackson will want to get their offense rolling.

Three ways Pryor's impact as a decoy will be felt:

Zone Read

Pryor at quarterback has been the best version of the Wildcat formation ever seen. He can throw the ball as much as he will run the ball, that added dimension doesn't allow teams to just attack the run.

With Pryor at QB, he will take a majority of the attention from defenders. This will allow RBs Duke Johnson and Isaiah Crowell to take the handoff with bigger, open lanes. Last week, Johnson and Crowell were bigger targets than Pryor. After his great game, Pryor now becomes the focal point for the defense of Washington.

Expect a few long runs from Browns running backs today.

Ghost Motion

Jet sweeps, where a WR comes in motion and gets the quick handoff from the QB, are all the rage in football right now. They became popular in college as a way to spread out defenses and get playmakers the ball in full stride. Urban Meyer and The Ohio State Buckeyes have perfected the play for years now.

The NFL is catching up and using them as well.

Using Pryor in what will look like a jet sweep but, will in fact, be a fake, or Ghost Motion, will open up a variety of plays for the Browns. First, if Pryor is coming left to right on his motion, a screen to the left (where Pryor was coming from) could have a ton of space to work with as defenders respond to his motion.

Second, that motion will either freeze or cause the linebackers to take a wrong step in Pryor's direction, which will open up running lanes in the second level. Another reason to expect the Browns running backs to have a big day.

Third, this motion will likely freeze the safeties allowing Kessler to try a deep pass to either Ricardo Louis or Rashard Higgins. Getting a safety to make a false step could give the rookies the chance they need to make a huge impact.

Deep Threat

At a minimum, Pryor showed early in Training Camp that he would at least be a huge weapon on 9 (Go) routes. His long strides, long arms, great body control and good hands allowed him to beat even some of the best corners, like Desmond Trufant.

Today, that threat will come in handy. Last week, Pryor showed he can run all the routes but having him going deep should open things up underneath for Gary BarnidgeAndrew Hawkins and the rest of the Browns pass catchers.

Pryor on the 9 route will draw two defenders to his side as well which should open up the other side of the field, not just the underneath.


Today, Terrelle Pryor will still have a good game but his best role will be as a decoy to open up things for the rest of the Browns offense. Pryor's stats may not be as exciting today but his impact could be even great for Cleveland against Washington.


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