Quarterback Matt McGloin
Matt McGloin has found himself in quite the position this weekend.
After serving as the Oakland Raiders backup quarterback for a majority of the past three seasons, McGloin is a backup no more, as he's now tasked with leading the Raiders offense into the postseason, following Derek Carr's injury last Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
In the history of the NFL, there have only been a handful of players who have walked the road McGloin is about to embark upon, beginning the season as a backup quarterback, before being thrust into the spotlight prior to a postseason run.
One of those quarterbacks is a familiar face to fans of the Silver and Black, as Jim Plunkett stepped in for an injured Dan Pastorni, and started the final 11 games of the regular season for the Raiders, before leading them into the playoffs, and eventually a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV.
Granted, Plunkett's experience was a tad different than McGloin's, but there are certainly some parallels in the two men's journeys.
"You always have to be prepared for that day," said Plunkett. "Quarterbacks get hurt, probably more often than most other positions, and you have to be ready to step in. It's been done before."
McGloin indeed has some starting experience – he started six games as a rookie – and Plunkett thinks that experience will serve him well as he's inserted back into the starting lineup against the Denver Broncos.
"Just knowing Matt since he's been here over the past four years, he's a guy who prepares himself, who works hard," Plunkett said. "He's waiting for that opportunity to get in there. He's going to go out there and do his best without question. I just really like his background. He was a walk-on at Penn State. He was a free agent signing for the Raiders, and he made it here when draft picks didn't even make it. Everybody likes his tenacity, his hard work. He's a smart kid, and he plays hard. There's just something about him."
Over the past week, much has been made about McGloin's football journey, as well as his fiery, temperament, but Plunkett thinks that type of mental makeup is what is going to help his teammates rally around him going forward.
"He's a guy that they can rally around," Plunkett said of McGloin. "Even at the end of last week's game against the Colts, he had to make two crucial first downs to maintain possession of the ball, and not give it back to the Colts, and he was able to do that. All these people are playing for him right now weren't there the last time he had to do something for the Raiders as a quarterback, so they got a little glimpse that he was able to come through in two, crucial passing situations."
McGloin will be thrown into the fire Sunday afternoon, as he'll be squaring off against a Broncos defense that ranks No. 1 against the pass, allowing just over 187 yards per game through the air.
So what does Plunkett think McGloin needs to do to find success come Sunday? It's pretty simple; be prepared, limit your mistakes, but don't be afraid to throw the football.
"You have to get him off the line of scrimmage, so you have to make some throws," Plunkett explained. "They don't have to be 70 yarders, or 60 yarders, but on 2nd and 5, get that first down, 3rd and 9, make that throw that gets you the first down. Make them worried that you're going to get the big play behind them, and don't make mistakes. Don't put your team in trouble. Cut your mistakes out, know your game plan inside and out… Get rid of it, get rid of it quick, and move on. Just because they think you're a backup, doesn't mean you can't burn them."
Quarterback – Derek Carr – Ankle – Did not participate – Out
Wide receiver – Amari Cooper – Shoulder – Limited – Questionable
Wide receiver – Michael Crabtree – Ankle – Limited – Questionable
Wide receiver – Andre Holmes – Shoulder – Limited – Questionable
Tackle – Austin Howard – Shoulder – Did not participate – Out
Safety – Karl Joseph – Toe – Limited – Doubtful
Defensive tackle – Stacy McGee – Groin – Limited
Guard/tackle – Kelechi Osemele – Ankle – Did not participate
Running back Jalen Richard – Shoulder – Limited
Linebacker – Perry Riley Jr. – Hamstring – Limited
Linebacker – Malcolm Smith – Hamstring – Limited
-After practicing both Wednesday and Thursday, Austin Howard wasn't able to hit the field Friday afternoon, and following the day's session, he was actually ruled out of Sunday's game with a shoulder injury.
-In addition to Howard, Derek Carr was also unsurprisingly ruled out of the regular season finale. While he was able to practice in a limited capacity, Karl Joseph is doubtful to suit up Sunday in Colorado.
-The Raiders starting quarterback had surgery earlier this week, but Head Coach Del Rio confirmed that Carr wouldn't be traveling with the team to Denver.
Head Coach Del Rio shared what he's seen from rookie quarterback Connor Cook this week:
"Connor has done a nice job. He's done a nice job all year with the work he gets and the attention to detail. I think he's really matured, become more comfortable in what we're asking him to do. The ball comes out of his hand nice. I think all the signs are real positive for Connor as we go forward."
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