Throughout the offseason, Just Blog Baby will be evaluating the performance of players on the 2013 Oakland Raiders roster.
One of the pleasant surprises of the 2013 season was the play of undrafted rookie free agent Matt McGloin. Undersized and underappreciated despite an excellent senior campaign for scandal-rocked Penn State, McGloin came to Raiders training camp as the fourth QB on the roster and many of us thought he would be nothing more than a camp arm. There were some reports that GM Reggie McKenzie was high on the rookie but I thought it was just him paying lip service to a guy he brought in just for the sake of doing so.
After playing well in preseason and beating out fourth round pick Tyler Wilson and relegating him to the practice squad, McGloin had the attention of Raider Nation. He was overshadowed by Terrelle Pryor’s electric rise to starting QB but McGloin was still impressing a lot of Raider insiders and beat writers. Pryor played well for a few weeks and the Raiders looked competitive until his injury problems began. Matt Flynn was cut shortly after that disastrous performance against the Redskins and the fourth QB in camp became one play away from being the starter. Pryor picked up a knee injury and before we knew it, Matt McGloin was the starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. McGloin started six games and here is how he performed:
Week 11 at Houston (W, 28-23):
McGloin was still very much an unknown commodity at this point but he burst on to the scene against what was still a very good defense with three touchdowns. He only passed for 197 yards but the major difference was that the offense had some rhythm and life to it. What made McGloin’s performance shine even more was the offensive ineptitude shown under Pryor who only managed one touchdown and eight interceptions in the four starts before this. McGloin’s play against the Texans created a genuine QB controversy in Oakland and some wondered if Pryor would get his job back when he became healthy.
Week 12 vs. Tennessee (L,19-23):
Against Tennessee, McGloin put up similar numbers compared to his first start as far as completion percentage but he threw his first interception and had several passes batted down. Passes being batted down is no big deal considering he is an undersized QB who was still adjusting to NFL defenses. The offense stalled in what was an ugly game for both teams and McGloin’s first half interception set up Tennessee’s second field goal of the game. The biggest takeaway from this performance was the fact that McGloin showed tremendous poise and put the Raiders in a position to win the game by throwing a 27 yard TD to fullback Marcel Reece with six minutes left in the game. The defense failed to stop the Titans and the losing streak began.
Week 13 @ Dallas (L,24-31):
There are few bigger stages in the NFL regular season than aThanksgiving game against the Cowboys. McGloin and the Raiders shone early,scoring a TD by forcing a turnover on the opening kickoff and evenutally going up 21-7 before giving up a touchdown late in the first half. It was hard to tell who was at fault for the fumble that brought Dallas back in to the game but as the year wore on, Center Stefen Wisniewski made the same mistake several times, which suggests McGloin was not at fault. Unfortunately this set the tone for the Raiders and they went on to lose the game with McGloin throwing a costly interception on an ill-advised fade route to Jacoby Ford in the end zone. Besides that interception, McGloin had a solid game overall and he actually converted five straight third downs with passes, something that needs to be done to succeed in the NFL. McGloin got no help from either of his running backs as they combined for 50 yards on 22 carries which made his job all the more difficult. The Raiders simply wore down in the second half against a more talented team.
Week 14 @ New York Jets (L,27-37):
On the team’s second visit to New York, Raider fans in the Tri-State Area were subjected to a bizzare QB by committee strategy employed by Dennis Allen. When in the game, McGloin was effective and had one of his better statistical days (18/31, 245yds, 2TDs, 1INT, 91.5 rating) but the offense was robbed of its rhythm by Allen bringing in Terrelle Pryor on several possessions. This was another game where the Raider defense failed to bring its A-game and the much maligned Geno Smith scored two touchdowns with 270 all purpose yards. The special teams also failed as they allowed the Jets to block a punt to take an early 20-3 lead. McGloin and the offense were clearly in rhythm but this game showed that to win in the NFL you must win in all three phases of the game.
Week 15 vs. Kansas City (L, 36-51):
This game against Kansas City featured one of the all-time great performances by a running back, unfortunately for the Raiders and Matt McGloin it was Jamaal Charles setting the records. Things started off bleak for McGloin with an early drive stalling followed by a pick-six on the next drive. In the second quarter, McGloin moved the offense on the drive following the pick-six which was capped off by a Jennings TD, fumbled on the next, intercepted on the following, and lead another touchdown drive to end the half for the Raider offense.
Down 35-17 at the half, the third quarter was when the magic began and the young QB almost authored one of the great Raider comebacks of all time. Scoring on two long touchdown drives, the Raiders and McGloin brought the Kansas City lead down to just four points but again the team wore down late in the game. Once the game was clearly out of hand for the Raiders, McGloin threw two more interceptions in an attempt to force the team back in to it but he fell short. This game was hugely indicative of the type of person and player Matt McGloin is. He will scrap and claw for the team and will do his best no matter the deficit. He was careless with the ball on this day but also made huge plays. This was a classic roller coaster game that we see from rookie QBs all the time.
Week 16 @ San Diego (L, 13-26):
This game against San Diego was simply a case of an offense not getting it done when given the chance. The Raiders forced three turnovers but only managed to score 10 points in an ugly first half. McGloin had a decent game in terms of accuracy but failed to really get the offense moving all game. It was a game where a rookie QB with less than stellar talent around him struggled against an eventual playoff team. He was the victim of several drops on the day but also was inaccurate on key plays including a key third and one to Jamize Olawale and a screen pass to McFadden. In terms of overall performance this was likely McGloin’s worst game. He was benched for Terrelle Pryor in week 17 but Pryor was also largely ineffective with his two touchdowns coming late in the fourth quarter when the game was very much in hand for the Denver Broncos.
In his six starts, Matt McGloin passed for 1,460 yds (243 per game), completed 56% of his passes, had an 8-8 TD/INT ratio, but the worst stat of all for Raider Nation was his 1-5 win/loss record. Unfortunately for McGloin, his rise to QB1 was coupled with a rash of injuries on defense and the eventual fall of the unit from a middle of the pack defense to one of the worst in the league. The losses piling up were not on McGloin’s shoulders as the Raider offense was putting up points at a rate unseen with Pryor at the helm.
The following table shows the Raiders offensive improvement under McGloin, which was more than enough to win me over (source cbssports.com):
McGloin’s play has at the very least earned him a shot at competing for the QB job in camp with a backup spot likely for the Penn State grad depending on what McKenzie and Allen decide to do in the draft and free agency. He hasn’t shown enough yet to be a full time starter in this league but who knows what he can accomplish with a few minicamps and more reps with the first team in training camp.