The status of quarterback Kirk Cousins is clearly a major focus for those paying attention to the Redskins. It just wasn't the primary issue for Terrelle Pryor when the free agent wide receiver explored joining Washington. After what the former quarterback endured last season in Cleveland, his full campaign at receiver, it's understandable.
"I don't want to say it was my first priority," Pryor explained during a conference call with local reporters on Monday. "At the end of the day, you want to be wanted. You want to be with a team that wants you. Washington, they were aggressive in terms of wanting me to be on the team. I played with six quarterbacks last year. I don't think it can get that bad."
We'll see about that.
Technically last season for the 1-15 Browns, Pryor played with five quarterbacks who represented a cornucopia of weekly ugh: Cody Kessler, Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Charlie Whitehurst and Kevin Hogan. Based on that motley crew, he's correct in thinking anything will be better. That's certainly true if Cousins stays. Key word being "if."
Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins for a second straight year, meaning he'll receive $24 million for the 2017 season. That's if a long-term deal contract cannot be reached. Concerns on that front have led to a strained relationship with the quarterback and the organization to the point it's unclear if Cousins will return.
"Obviously, I would like to play with Kirk," stated Pryor, who said the two exchanged texts in recent days."I would be an idiot if I didn’t believe that. I think he’s a great quarterback and
Pryor signed a 1-year, $8 million
"I don't really view it as replacing anyone," Pryor said when asked about any potential pressure taking over for those standouts. "I'm just going to play my game. I dealt with double-team last year. There's no pressure. It's all about hard work and winning your matchups."
The former Ohio State and Oakland Raiders quarterback needed to put in plenty of hard work after switching positions. Prior to last season, the 6-foot-4 Pryor caught two NFL passes. In 2016, he hauled in 77 for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns.
"I think the biggest adjustment -- Just the engagement and battle at the line of scrimmage between myself and the corners, said the 27-year-old Pryor, who mentioned he spent part of his off-season training with former NFL star receiver Randy Moss and cornerbacks.
"A lot of stuff with hand-eye coordination down the field. With bigger guys, heavier guys leaning on me as I tried to catch the ball over my shoulder. Catching tennis balls with one hand," Pryor explained about his workouts. "It's a different game playing receiver because you see a little bead coming out of nowhere between defenders. The game is all about catching the ball and getting separation. I think it really turned for me this past offseason. I really took strides. It's all about hard work and what you want to put into it."
Good hearing Pryor is putting in the work especially since he'll be thrown into the starting lineup. Who will be throwing him the ball next season remains unclear.
Despite the uncertainty and drama around Redskins Park these days, Pryor signed on. He did so without asking Griffin for any thoughts on his former team or head coach.
“Really it was Jay Gruden’s offense," he said about what stood out with Washington. "It was kind of the same thing as my coach back in Cleveland."
As for any concerns considering all the recent headlines, Pryor said, "At the end of the day, it’s an opportunity to play in the NFL. I don’t take any of those for granted. I can’t really control or have a say or know what’s going on internally. They’re handling that internally. All I can do is just come in and be ready to be the best teammate I can be and work my butt off and prove I belong. I’m along with them for the journey and what we’re trying to accomplish."