“I can ball bro. I can ball.”
There was some moxie coming out of the Bills locker room this week, and the source was one of the newest signings to the roster. Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is a player the Bills are hoping can be a shot in the arm to Buffalo’s 32nd ranked passing game. But Pryor wasn’t doing any hoping following his first practice on Wednesday. He is expecting to be a difference maker.
“I’m not being cocky. I just know how I study and how I work and how I practice,” said Pryor. “I compete at a high level and I expect high things from myself. I expect high things from the offense. Just because we had a couple of bad games and we didn’t score that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is this week coming out and competing and holding ourselves to a high standard. And just because we lost some games doesn’t mean we can’t win or put things together.”
Pryor’s energy was a welcome addition on the practice field. Though he was impressed by the tempo and intensity of his first Bills practice, his ability to step right in and perform in Buffalo’s offense was well received.
"TP's really cool, this is my first interaction with him,” said Zay Jones. “Cool to be around. He's already throwing out some veteran stuff to me that I've already received. I watched that guy in college. It's really cool to play with Terrelle and just watch his athleticism and everything that he brings to the table. I'm really excited to work with someone like that."
Pryor is coming off an injury-shortened stint with the Jets. He was targeted 22 times in six games posting 14 receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns. A groin injury, that has since healed, is what derailed his time in New York. But the veteran receiver felt he could’ve done more with the Jets.
“I felt like I was underused,” he said. “I do believe that absolutely.”
How he’ll blend in with Buffalo’s offensive scheme remains to be seen, but being a former quarterback, Pryor has already got a firm handle on Brian Daboll’s system.
“I had the whole playbook down and terms for first and second down and was out there practicing full speed,” said Pryor, who credited Jones, Kelvin Benjamin and Charles Clay for assisting him on the field. “I had great coaches who taught me at a fast pace. I’m still learning obviously. I’m not anywhere there yet, but I felt pretty good on all the plays I had, and I had a lot of plays.”
Head coach Sean McDermott is taking a wait-and-see approach before deciding whether Pryor will be active on Sunday against the Bears. If Pryor comes through the week well, he stands a good chance of getting at least a package of plays, perhaps in the red zone or on third downs where the Bills may want to take advantage of his 6-4, 228-pound frame.
Getting adjusted to a new quarterback might be the tallest task for Pryor, knowing the signal caller throwing to him could change on a week to week basis with the current injuries at the position. Pryor doesn’t care.
“We’ve got great quarterbacks man,” he said. “We’ve just got to practice hard, compete and pick him up. I truly believe that. I think this weekend is going to be different. Whoever is behind the center we’re going to have a great game. That’s what I believe.”
And Pryor has prior production to prove it. If there’s any receiver in the league who has shown an ability to produce despite quarterback changes, it’s him.
In his 2016 campaign with the Cleveland Browns, Pryor put up 77 catches for just over 1,000 yards and four touchdowns, despite playing with five different quarterbacks over the course of that season.
That’s why Pryor signed with Buffalo. He’s unaffected by the state of the team’s quarterback position as well as the team’s won-loss record.
“I don’t really care about the record,” he said. “We could easily, in these next eight games, come together as one and finish strong. I believe in that. Just being in here I believe in the group.”
With Pryor quickly falling in line with the way McDermott runs his team, if he can demonstrate an ability to execute assignments, the receiver could be contributing sooner rather than later.
“I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity and be the best leader I can to our young guys. Study film and practice hard and do what the coaches need me to do to help the team,” he said. “I believe wherever I go I just have that energy and passion about football. That’s where I’m at with it. You guys can say, ‘He’s a B-S-er.’ I don’t care. That’s what I believe. They always say you are what you believe you are. We have to believe we’re going to be successful and I’m going to believe that I’m going to be successful.”