TOM JAMES CNHI NEWS SERVICE
---- — INDIANAPOLIS — Terrelle Pryor or Matt Flynn. When it comes to Sunday’s regular-season opener with the Oakland Raiders (1 p.m., Lucas Oil Stadium, CBS Sports), Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano says his team will be ready for whoever ends up starting at quarterback.
“I think they’re both really good players, as we all know. I think Pryor, obviously with his athleticism, we’ve watched him in the preseason. We’ve watched him for a long time. We all know what he can do outside the pocket and the way he can create and the way he can run the read option. He gives you another dimension from a defensive standpoint that you got to take care of. He’s dangerous on the move,” Pagano said Wednesday.
“Whether they’re running read option with him, drop back to pass, if it’s not there then the guy can take off. He can scramble. He can scramble to run. He can scramble to make a play down the field. Again, they’re both really good quarterbacks. We’ll prepare for both guys and be ready to face whoever they decide to line up under center.”
Which will it be? — While Oakland head coach Dennis Allen won’t publicly disclose who will be his starting quarterback will be, media reports indicate that Pryor will most likely get the call.
“I haven’t made an announcement yet. Nor will I,” Allen said during a Wednesday teleconference with the Colts media. Earlier in the day, while previewing the Indianapolis game with the Raiders’ beat reporters, he said that he would not name a starter in order to have “a competitive advantage.”
STOPPING THE READ OPTION
Should Pryor, the former Ohio State standout, end up getting the nod as the Raiders’ starting quarterback, expect the Indianapolis defense to prepared for an option attack.
“I just think because of the success that people had last year running the read option, everybody went out in the offseason and did their due diligence, just like we did, as far as researching the things that you need to do to stop it. Some teams are a little bit more complex than others. Some are in the pistol and have one back back there,” the Colts coach said.
“You’ll see this team come in here on Sunday and there could be that situation, that scenario right there, or there could be as many as three backs back there in a diamond formation with the quarterback in the pistol. So we definitely did our research as well as everybody else did. You get caught with your pants down, they can make you look really silly.”
HIT THE QUARTERBACKS
During training camp, NFL referees explained to teams and coaching staffs what will be allowed when facing read option offenses. Quarterbacks will be fair game to be hit under the right circumstances.
“That’s how the rule reads now. They’re very specific, and they were very specific with us in the offseason at the owners’ meetings, when the NFL officials came to training camp. As long as that guy’s running an option play and he’s involved in that option play, then he’s considered a runner. And he does not garner the protection that a normal quarterback who drops back to pass, the protection that he’s awarded based on the rules,” Pagano said.
“There’s a fine line there. Read option, a guy takes it and he hands it off and he backs away and doesn’t carry out a fake, can you go hit that guy? Obviously not. So we’ve educated our guys on that and we’ll practice that this week and for weeks to come.”
Rookie safety John Boyett was waived Tuesday from the Colts’ non-football injury list. Boyett was arrested early Monday morning on charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting law enforcement.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound defensive back was a sixth-round draft pick by Indianapolis in April.
“As you know, we released John Boyett. I’m not going to get into the details. Every situation is different and we’ll handle each of them accordingly,” Pagano said.
Undrafted outside linebacker Caesar Rayford was traded to Dallas Tuesday in exchange for an unspecified conditional draft pick in 2015.
The 27-year old Rayford had been signed in May after stints in the Canadian and Arena Football Leagues. He had become a fan favorite after posting five sacks in the Colts’ four pre-season games and had made the regular season roster with his performance.