ALAMEDA -- In the span of 24 hours, Terrelle Pryor has gone from not being ready to be a backup quarterback to a potential starter in the Raiders' regular-season finale.

Coach Dennis Allen addressed the about-face Wednesday as the Raiders prepared to face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium by giving first-team reps to Matt Leinart and Pryor.

Following a 17-6 loss to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, Allen said Pryor was "not ready" to be a backup after the second-year quarterback from Ohio State got three snaps in specialty situations.

Leinart got most of the work after Carson Palmer suffered cracked ribs and a bruised lung late in the first quarter, an injury that will keep Palmer out of the last game of the season. Leinart completed 16 of 32 passes for 115 yards with one interception and no touchdowns.

The following day, Allen said he was "open" to looking at Pryor as the starter, and that both quarterbacks would get work with the first team.

Why the flip-flop?

"I think when you get done with the game, your mindset is one way, and then we get a chance to come back and sit down and evaluate where we're at," Allen said. "We got a chance to see what Matt could do and we might need to see a little bit more of Terrelle."

Leinart, through a team spokesman, declined interviews until Allen picks a starter, presumably Friday.

Pryor, who was downcast after the Panthers game, was in a much better mood Wednesday and conceded he let his emotions get the better of him after the loss.

"I hate losing with a passion," Pryor said. "It just kind of got the best of me, and I've got to hold back my emotions a little better."

One school of thought is that if the Raiders are going to use Pryor, they'd be best served by giving him as many repetitions as possible in practice leading up to the game.

That apparently wasn't the case Wednesday. While Allen said practice reps were "an even split," Pryor said it was something less than that -- about two or three snaps per session. But he was grateful for the work he got.

"Just to be able to lead this group of guys and try to be the leader, it's an opportunity, and I definitely look forward to it," Pryor said.

Pryor has played just six snaps in two games, an entire series against the Kansas City Chiefs (a three-and-out) and three plays against Carolina as a shotgun quarterback with Palmer (once) or Leinart (twice) split wide.

It remains to be seen whether the Raiders are considering giving Pryor extensive time as an every-down quarterback, using him as a change-of-pace player out of the shotgun or utilizing a game plan similar to the one they used against the Panthers.

While acknowledging Pryor wouldn't get a Palmer-like package of plays, Allen is reluctant to scale it back too much.

"You can't simplify it to the point where you make it too easy on (the defense)," Allen said.

Pryor is often lumped with quarterbacks such as Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick because of his all-around athletic ability. He relishes the comparisons while conceding he hasn't proved anything.

Yet Pryor stressed the most important part of his job will be learning the part of the game that goes beyond creativity and explosive skill.

"Watching film and stuff like that, the boring stuff, is what's going to make you a great quarterback," he said. "Growing up, my favorite quarterback was Tom Brady, and to this day I still like him. He's one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. Obviously, Carson, I've watched him a lot. Peyton Manning ... you watch those guys and wonder, 'Why is he so smart?' "

For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on twitter at Twitter.com/Jerrymcd.