CLEVELAND -- The old adage in football is, “The eye in the sky never lies!”
And after breaking down film of the Cleveland Browns’ 30-24 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, Washington is well aware of what wide receiver Terrelle Pryor can do with the football in his hands, and players and coaches alike are committed to doing what they can to prevent that from happening.
“That was very impressive,” Washington head coach Jay Gruden said. “He showed a lot as far as his football instincts and ability, being able to line up at receiver, running back and quarterback and all the things that he does -- catch the ball, run the ball, track the ball when the ball is in the air.
“Obviously, he is a great athlete and a force to be reckoned with. Made a great name for himself so far as not only a great receiver but a great athlete and a heck of a player.”
When Pryor was not alternating snaps at quarterback with rookie Cody Kessler in the loss to the Dolphins, he posted career highs with seven receptions for 144 yards and rushed for 21 more with one touchdown on four carries.
In addition to registering his first career 100-yard receiving game, Pryor became the first NFL player since Houston Texans wide receiver Cecil Shorts III, a Cleveland native, to have 20 or more yards rushing, receiving and passing in a single game.
And Gruden “can see” the Browns using Pryor even more against Washington than they did against the Dolphins.
“I can see them doing a lot of different things with him,” Gruden said. “That is something we have got to be aware of: ‘Where is No. 11?’
“Hue (Jackson) has great originality when it comes to drawing up plays. I know that for a fact working with him. We just have to find out where he is. He could be a receiver. They could throw him double passes, and he can be in the backfield and be a quarterback, a lot of things he can do. There is not a lot he can’t.”
Gruden is not surprised by the success Pryor has had at wide receiver, despite the fact that the former Oakland Raiders quarterback made the position change less than 18 months ago, and did so while competing at the game’s highest level.
“Once he committed to being a receiver, with the athletic talent that he had, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Gruden said. “Anybody that is long like that with the athletic skillset that he has, I think the transition will be smooth.”
And Gruden plans on combating that athleticism by putting his best cornerback, Josh Norman, against Pryor on Sunday.
“Pryor against anybody is an interesting matchup because he is such a big target and he has great ball skills,” Gruden said. “Whoever he lands on will have a great challenge ahead of them. I don’t know if he will be on Josh all game or who it will be on, but we have corners that are going to have to step up.
“Heck, he might be at quarterback, so the linebackers are going to have to figure out how to tackle him and defensive ends. I think Pryor is going to be against our entire defense, so we have to make sure we know where he is and get him corralled when he gets the ball in the open field because he is dangerous.”