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August 25, 2014 at 9:16 PM

Is Thursday Terrelle Pryor’s last audition for Seattle’s backup QB job?

Terrelle Pryor was an obvious focus of media attention today as the Seahawks returned to practice in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Raiders.

For one, he’s returning to Oakland, where he played the last three years, and was the team’s starter in nine games last season.

But more importantly to Pryor’s future is that he figures to get a lot of action in a game that could go a long way toward determining what the Seahawks do with their backup QB situation.

I wrote a little bit about what Pryor had to say in this story for the Tuesday paper.

As I wrote in there, I think the choice may not be so much Tarvaris Jackson or Pryor, but Tarvaris Jackson AND Pryor. Put another way — two quarterbacks or three?

Seattle has mostly gotten by with just two QBs on its active roster during the four-year Pete Carroll era, something that gives the team added roster flexibility — third quarterbacks are rarely active, and during the Carroll era have never been needed.

The only year in Seattle when Carroll kept three QBs on the active roster for the entire season was 2011, when the quarterbacks were Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis. Portis was the third QB and inactive for all but one game, that coming when Jackson was hurt and did not play in a loss at Cleveland (Portis didn’t play in that game).

Last year, Seattle had just two QBs  — Russell Wilson and Jackson — other than weeks 5-10 when B.J. Daniels was on the 53-man roster. Daniels had to be placed on the active roster initially after being signed off of San Francisco’s practice squad in early October. After week 10 — the win at Atlanta — he was released and then re-signed to the practice squad for the rest of the season. He was active only for the game against Atlanta.

Carroll, though, said today that while being able to have an extra roster spot is nice, he doesn’t really have a strict philosophy about having either two or three QBs on the roster. Instead,, he said it all comes down to whether the players involved are good enough that they deserve a spot.

“Sometimes you just can’t afford not to have three guys because they’re so good and you just got to have them,” Carroll said. “We were very fortunate that we made it through with the two-QB thing last year. Russell’s a young and physical that can handle the pounding. He does a great job. He’s not a guy that puts himself in harm’s way very often. The two-QB thing really helps you because you get another football player on your team but sometimes you can’t afford to do it because your guys are too good.”

So in essence, if Pryor proves so enticing that they want to hang onto him, they will, even if it comes with the understanding that he’s unlikely to play (and forget for now about him playing another position).

As for why this seems to be more of a Jackson and Pryor question rather than Jackson or Pryor, all evidence is that Jackson has had a good training camp and done nothing to lose the backup job. And with a team that obviously still has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, a trusted and dependable backup is a pretty big deal. He also has a contract with a guaranteed salary of $1.25 million, which doesn’t mean everything, but does mean something (Pryor is in the final year of  his four-year rookie deal which pays him $705,000 if he makes the team).

Daniels is sort of the forgotten player in all of this. But given some of the QB situations elsewhere — such as San Francisco, the team that drafted him in the seventh round in 2013 — he could attract some suitors if he is released, as well.

Carroll had this to say today about Daniels, who might also get some time against the Raiders: “He’s done well. We had to make sure and get the good looks to get Tarvaris back and make sure he knew what he was doing. He had to see Terrelle that really took a lot of reps away from him because we knew less about him. In the last two weeks, he’s been getting more reps, showing what he can do and he’s done well with it. We know he’s a really good competitor and he does a lot of cool things for us.”

Soon, at least, we’ll have some concrete answers.

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