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Preseason Hype: The Matt McGloin Mistake.

Updated on September 4, 2015

Does Matt McGloin deserve to start in Oakland?

This preseason, Raiders third string quarterback Matt McGloin put up astounding numbers.
Despite getting limited snaps towards the end of the exhibition games, McGloin was able to rack up over 400 yards and 4 TDs, tied for the third most in the entire league. The reliable Raider completed 73 percent of his passes and had 6 of them go for at least 20 yards. He looked cool under pressure, and consistently delivered crisp passes to some questionable receiving talent.
The same... could not be said for the other two Raider signal callers.
Journeyman passer, Christian Ponder threw for fewer yards, and had just as many touchdowns as interceptions, and only one at that. He completed 62% of his passes, but was never really able to get the Raider offense moving.
And then there's the incumbent starter, second year passer Derek Carr...
Carr looked dreadful at points this pre-season. His offense frequently stalled out, he has miscommunication with receivers, and despite playing with the best weapons the Raiders have to offer, he barely completed 50% of his passes and didn't register a single touchdown.

As a fan, you see numbers like this, and it raises a very simple question.
Why isn't Matt McGloin the starting quarterback?
His numbers are the best, he's looked the best, and the team has had the most success under center, why not give him another look?

Here's why.

The Glass Ceiling.

I've got bad news for McGloinites.
Matt McGloin is never going to be better than he his right now.
Matt McGloin isn't very tall, he doesn't have a very strong arm, and despite his size, he's not a very good athlete.
Don't get me wrong, there is a place for guys like McGloin in the NFL.
In an offense like the one that the Saints run down in New Orleans, one that relies on quick passes, screens, and other small-ball gimmicks, he could thrive!
But the Raiders aren't going to run that small ball offense any time soon.
As a matter of fact, judging by the success the Saints have (Or rather, haven't had) over the last few seasons, I'm not sure anyone's going to run it soon.

The sad fact is... Carr is just a better prospect.
Mentally, Carr understands the game better than most second year QBs do. As he should, he's only been watching game film since he was ten years old. And as an athlete, Carr brings more to the table.
Though he's a little skinny (214 pounds) at his height (6'3), Carr looks every inch the franchise quarterback the Raiders bill him to be. He's got an incredible arm, can thread the needle, and is a deceptively quick athlete.
If you put McGloin and Carr next to each other, both at their full potential, Carr's the better option and it's not even close.

Head to Head, Carr's numbers were better with less.

Raiders fans are quick to forget that Matt McGloin was already the Raiders starting quarterback.
After ineptitude and injuries benched Terrelle Pryor and Matt Flynn, Matt McGloin was given the nodd as the starter in 2013.
And he started red hot.
As an undrafted rookie, to come into your first start and throw three touchdowns against JJ Watt and the Houston Texans? Pretty impressive. He delivered the Raiders something they sorely needed... A win.
And I'll admit, I was caught up in the hype for a second.
It's not unheard of for late round picks, or undrafted players to come off the bench and revive franchises.
Look at Kurt Warner in St. Louis.
Look at Tom Brady in New England.
Look at Tony Romo in Dallas.
It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.
Sadly... The hype didn't last long.
The Raiders lost the rest of their games, and McGloin paired 5 touchdowns with 8 interceptions.
"But that three touchdown game!"
Yeah, okay, it sounds great when I say he threw 3 touchdowns against JJ Watt and the Texans.
It doesn't sound great when I remind you that the Texans ended up having the worst record in all of football that year.

Now I know what you're thinking.
"Carr didn't exactly take us to the promised land as a rookie either"
And you're right.
As starting QB of the Raiders, Carr only delivered Oakland three wins, and none until the end of November, when it was too late to warm the hearts of the Raider Nation.
But I'll tell you what he did do.
He managed to throw 21 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions despite playing with receivers like Andre Holmes and the ancient James Jones with a rushing offense that was historically bad.
During that season, Carr did plenty of things that McGloin was never able to do.
He had four passing touchdowns in an exhilarating duel with Philip Rivers.
He was able to throw 2 touchdowns against a Bills defense that shut down MVP Aaron Rodgers and future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning.
And no matter how ugly things got, he never threw more than 2 picks.

What's that? Maybe McGloin had time to develop?
Then explain what happened when he made a brief cameo last year during the Dolphins game, when he completed 12 of 19 passes, but also threw two interceptions.
Also, "obviously Carr's stats are going to be better, he played more"
If you stretch the average out for McGloin, his statline isn't pretty.
16 games of Matt McGloin looks like this.
3,536 yards, 18 touchdowns, 18 interceptions.
True. More yards than Carr's 3,270, but also 3 fewer touchdowns and 6 more interceptions.

Carr deserves more credit.

Let me just refresh your memory for a second.
In 2013, the Raiders offense looked... different.
For one, they still had bruising tailback, Rashad Jennings. Between Jennings, Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, and a few other rushers, the Raiders had a cool 2,000 rushing yards in 2013.

Quite a bit more than the 1,240 Derek Carr dealt with last year.
McGloin also had the added benefit of a healthy Rod Streater, a receiver that Carr last halfway through the third game.

It's just preseason.

While it's true that Matt McGloin has been playing with scattered Raider starters in his preseason showings, let's just take a look at who he was playing against.
Do the names Ronald Martin, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Frank Clark, or Brock Coyle ring any bells?
That's because for the most part, these re rookies. Late round rookies or guys who spent 2014 on the practice squad. There guys are fighting for the crumbs that the third string players leave behind.
These guys might not be good enough to play in the NFL at all.
And yet here they are, late in the preseason, desperately fighting for a spot on the roster.
They look across the line of scrimmage and see who?
A guy with actual real game experience, throwing to guys who took most of the reps for the Raiders the last year.
In all reality, wouldn't it be a bigger indicator that McGloin has no business playing in the NFL if he couldn't tear those guys apart?
Entering his third year, with the same players he's had three years of practice with, playing against undrafted rookies running vanilla defenses in their very first games at NFL speed?
Um... Obviously...

Not to mention.
The nitty gritty of it is...
Preseason just doesn't matter. It doesn't matter at all, folks.
Brett Hundley lead the NFL in almost every passing category this preseason.
He had over 600 yards and 7 touchdowns over the four preseason games.
Whoa! That's like twice as much as McGloin had!
Aaron Rodgers also hasn't thrown a touchdown this preseason.
Should Hundley start over Rodgers?
Absolutely not.
Absolutely. Not.

It's funny that I mention Aaron Rodgers, because I have a better example of skewed samples that might hit closer to home with Raiders fans.

In 2010, the Green Bay Packers were about to face off with the New England Patriots, and they had a huge problem.
Starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a concussion and he wasn't cleared to play.
Remember what happened next?
Unknown backup quarterback Matt Flynn stepped in and stepped up.
He threw for over 400 yards and 3 TDs in a game the Packers almost won.
Just a fluke right?
I mean, the Patriots defense was awful that year.
What about the next year, in week 17, when the Packers played the Lions in a meaningless throwaway game and Flynn got the nod?
Against second string players, Flynn threw for over 500 yards and 6 TDs.
Most players go their whole careers without games like that.
So according to the McGloin logic, he deserved to be a starter right?
Well, Mr. (OR MR.S) Raiders fan, you remember how Matt Flynn worked out for the Raiders right?
Well, the Raiders and the Seahawks and the Bills and the Patriots and the Jets.

In Summation.

McGloin is a solid quarterback.
He's not going to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, but he's reliable to fill in for someone in a tough spot.
If the Raiders are only planning to keep 2 quarterbacks this season, McGloin should ablsolutely be the second, if for no other reason that someone will eventually come knocking with a trade offer.


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