Penn State walk-on Matt McGloin likely to start at QB for Raiders
When quarterback Matt McGloin walked on to the Penn State football team back in 2009, there is no way that he thought he would be starting for an NFL team four years later, but that appears to be the case for the 23-year-old undrafted rookie.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been dealing with a sprained MCL, and it slowed him severely in Week 10. Pryor reportedly was at "less than half speed" in practice this week, and the 3-6 Raiders would prefer that he get healthy now rather than risk re-injury. Head coach Dennis Allen is holding out hope for the impressive young quarterback to suit up, saying, "You never know. [Pryor] may feel great tomorrow. We're still preparing him," but all signs point to McGloin - who got first-team reps on Friday - getting the nod.
McGloin offers very little upside. He is far from the ideal quarterback size at 6'1'', 210 pounds, and does not have any notable physical tools. He has a weak arm and struggles mightily to get the ball downfield.
I was at Beaver Stadium when Penn State played Illinois back in 2011 (Joe Paterno's last game, as a matter of fact), and I remember genuinely laughing at how horrible the team's quarterback situation was. McGloin went 9-for-24 with just 98 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. He was horrendous. Meanwhile, Rob Bolden would factor in as a sort of change-of-pace quarterback, completing none of his four passes and losing nine yards on his two rush attempts.
McGloin did put it together during his senior year, however, when he had a stranglehold on the starting job. He completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,271 yards, 24 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. While he never blew you away with his play, he was a capable game manager who made the necessary plays while minimizing mistakes.
With the Raiders, McGloin will have to find success on short-to-intermediate throws, allowing his receivers to haul in easy receptions and make plays after the catch. The best way to do that is with a west coast system, which the Raiders should have in their back pocket considering they had planned to start noodle-armed Matt Flynn until shortly before the season opener.
Even if they break out the Flynn plays for McGloin, there is still a minuscule chance that he finds success against the Houston Texans this weekend. The Raiders' offensive line is horrible, and the only reason more attention is not brought to their shortcomings is because Pryor is so elusive and frequently escapes pressure. McGloin, however, is not in the same realm as Pryor as far as athleticism and elusiveness. McGloin will be under constant pressure all day from J.J. Watt and company. He may be able to put together a solid game with some NFL teams, but I doubt he will be able to with the Raiders.
McGloin's presence behind center thwarts the upside of all Raider skill position players. Aside from Rashad Jennings, I would not want to start any Raider in fantasy leagues. Up against the Texans and their No. 1 ranked pass defense, things could get messy for the Raiders this weekend.