Matt McGloin, second-year pro and the Raiders’ apparent 3rd string quarterback, has had a rough road. He has already endured quarterback controversies in college and in the NFL, the worst scandal perhaps in perhaps all of sports history and now a major demotion from starter to 3rd stringer after only half a year to prove himself. He was thrown to the wolves by Dennis Allen last year, having to try to quarterback a team that constantly played from behind with an injury-riddled offensive line and a limited number of viable receiving options – and on an extremely limited number of practice snaps as a rookie.
The scrappy kid out of Scranton PA began his college career as a walk-on for Joe Paterno in 2009. In 2010, he beat out Rob Bolden and Kevin Newsome for the starting job at Penn State, throwing for 1500 yards and 14 TD’s in limited action. In 2011, as he prepared to lead the Nittany Lions as the full-time starter, the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke, ending legendary coach Joe Paterno’s career and destroying Penn State’s season. McGloin stuck it out at State College, but only managed 1500 yards and 8 TD’s with a weakened supporting cast, most notably without star running back Silas Redd. As a senior in 2012, he put up impressive numbers for coach Bill O’Brien: nearly 3300 yards and 24 TD’s to only 5 interceptions.
Despite his solid showing as a senior after overcoming a disastrous junior season in a pro-style passing offense, McGloin was overlooked by NFL scouts and was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine while college quarterbacks with much less impressive passing numbers were. He was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Raiders after the 2013 draft where they had already selected Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson in the 4th round. He began Raiders training camp as the least-heralded member of a QB group that included Wilson, big-money trade acquisition Matt Flynn, and of course Terrelle Pryor. He began to show his potential in the first game of the preseason, throwing the game’s only TD during a 4 of 7, 78 yard performance. McGloin had three more solid but unimpressive outings in preseason, but when final cuts were made it was enough to earn him a roster spot at third on the depth chart behind Pryor and Flynn.
Most Raider fans will remember the rest of the story. After Flynn had an abominable performance in his sole start during the regular season, he was cut, and McGloin became the second-stringer as the Raiders carried only two QB’s the rest of the way. McGloin saw his first regular season action late in a 49-20 blowout loss to Philadelphia at home, and two weeks later got his first start of the year, throwing 3 TD’s in the Raiders final win of the season, a 28-23 victory over struggling Houston. McGloin then led the offense in five straight losses in the following five weeks, throwing 5 TD’s and 8 INT’s and completing 56.7% of his passes. Pryor returned as the starter in week 17 to close the lost season out.
This offseason, Reggie McKenzie traded for veteran Matt Schaub from Houston, traded Pryor to the Seahawks, and drafted college phenom Derek Carr out of Fresno State in the 2nd round of the draft. Free agent veteran Trent Edwards was also signed. McGloin has entered training camp listed as the Raiders 3rd-string QB behind Carr and Schaub. Like most NFL teams, the Raiders will keep four QB’s on the roster throughout the preseason and McGloin, Carr and Edwards will likely all see significant action while Schaub plays only one or two series in all but the third preseason game. McGloin, with six pro starts under his belt and now in his second full training camp with OC Greg Olson and QB coach John DeFilippo, will have every opportunity to prove himself worthy again this preseason, although it may not necessarily be the Raiders he’s proving it to…