The Redskins' wide receiver has been excited about this week's practice and is optimistic that things will start to click between him and Kirk Cousins this Sunday.
Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. entered the locker room in uplifted spirits on Thursday afternoon. Despite a sore ankle and a frustrating start to his season, which has been characterized more by his dropped passes than his positive plays, he spoke to the media looking forward to Sunday night's game against the Raiders brimming with optimism.
"I'm mad sometimes when I walk in here every single day," Pryor said. "If you see me and I'm mad, it's probably like I want to fix something, something happened. I may have had a good day in practice or something like that…I'm pretty excited right now. I'm feeling good."
The reason for his excitement stems from his practice week, in which Pryor and quarterback Kirk Cousins have been gaining a better connection. Their rapport has been under intense scrutiny for most of the preseason -- even while they've stayed late after practices working on timing -- as the first-team offense struggled early in games, but Pryor believes the issues are working themselves out.
"Sometimes people don't see that like, right now, every single day, this week was phenomenal between myself and Kirk even though I didn't practice as much," he said. "But the connection we're getting and the connection we're building on up is great and it's hard to see for people but on the inside you're like, man, this is getting exciting."
Pryor has eight catches on 15 targets for 97 yards receiving in the first two games of the season. He offered up that the reason behind his slow start is part of a league-wide trend for big-time receivers that have changed teams in the offseason. Noting Alshon Jeffery and Brandin Cooks, Pryor expects production to increase in the coming weeks because, "you start fill in blanks – what am I comfortable [with], what is he comfortable [with], what is he real good at, and then it starts to really cook up. So I'm getting excited."
Cousins has shared the same sentiment about the passing offense as a whole. While the run game relieved some of the burden on his shoulders last week, Cousins hasn't thrown for more than 250 yards in a game yet. Still, he's remained confident that the parts will come together soon and the offense as he's known it will come together again.
Check out these photos of the Redskins' offense preparing for their Week 3 game against the Oakland Raiders Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
"A lot of the throws we did complete or balls that were thrown were good accurate passes and so we felt good about that," Cousins said of his first two games. "So that's where I think [head coach Jay Gruden] says we are really close because you're a touchdown pass away and a couple other situations from really having a big day. I think that is where we say we are close. I think so many times we come away from games saying, 'If we would've done this, if we would've done that…' There are always those plays that can put you over the edge so we have got to find ways to continue to make those plays so that we aren't saying that as often when we walk away from the game."
Sunday's game will also mark a reunion for Pryor with the team that took him in the 2011 supplemental draft. His time at quarterback never panned out the way he hoped, nor did it with a few other teams, leading to his release.
He stopped thinking about making it as a quarterback by the time he was released a third time in as many years by the Cincinnati Bengals, equating the feeling to a woman breaking up with him, "the best way I can explain it," he said. Those feelings still sit with him.
"I'm motivated every day," he said. "Coming to practice every day, this is a great week of practice I'm looking to step up my game and do big things."
As he's reflected more about his unique shift to wide receiver, he said doesn't miss playing quarterback as much as he thought. That's mostly a symptom of watching dynamic defensive players find their way to the backfield and pull down quarterbacks.
"You start seeing Kirk sometimes getting hit or you see other quarterbacks, they're play a great defensive line, they're getting hit. Man, I don't miss that," Pryor said. "When you're getting rid of the ball and you've got people jumping on you and the fans and the media. You guys jump on Kirk. I don't miss that. I don't. But, I don't have problems taking the blame sometimes. I try to take the heat off them."
He'll have his chance against the Raiders.