Category Archives: matt mcgloin

Week 10 Final: Broncos 41, Raiders 17

It started off well enough — for this team, you could say it was a first quarter for the ages. Peyton Manning looked flustered, throwing two early INTs that translated into 10 points and a rare lead for the Raiders. But the wheels came off shortly after that, and between Derek Carr turning the ball over several times deep in the Raiders’ own territory, and the defense’s inability to stop someone named C.J. Anderson, the lead and the optimism were short-lived.

Full game stats here

Oakland’s performance has to be assessed on something of a curve here, the Broncos are simply that good. Where the Seahawks have muddled their way to a 5-3 midseason record, find themselves two full games behind Arizona, and may not even make a wild-card slot, the Broncos (aside from last week’s pummeling in New England) have performed like an elite team throughout, beating up on solid teams such as San Francisco and Arizona, and nearly beating the Seahawks in Seattle. They have an edge and a sense of urgency to make up for their dismal loss in the most recent Super Bowl, and should be considered one of the odds-on favorites to at least be in the next one, if not win it outright.

And that’s frustrating to watch, where a team picks up a few key free agents (yes, one of them just happens to be one of the two or three best QBs of this generation, but still) and steamrolls the rest of the league, while the Raiders throw record cap money at players who, I’m sure they’re good guys and want to win and have had great track records, just aren’t getting it done. There’s no running game. Only two pass plays went for over 20 yards. One of the wide receivers (James Jones) had 8 receptions for 20 yards, with a long of 10 yards. Twenty yards. That is not a typo.

What were the bright spots? D.J. Hayden got a sweet early pick, which the Raiders scored a field goal from. (Of course, Hayden was on the sideline by the end of the game, getting what appeared to be a groin or hamstring pull worked on.) Hayden’s coverage and tackling are solid, the question is just whether he can stay healthy or not. Justin Tuck had a great tip and pick, deep in Broncos territory, to set up a short TD for Oakland. Carr had a nice hookup with Brice Butler for a late garbage-time TD, as has been this team’s main consistency. Scoring late TDs long after the game is out of reach at least makes things more respectable and builds confidence for some of these young players, but it does not address the fact that this offense is incapable of doing those things when the game is closer in score.

Next week’s matchup in San Diego is the Raiders’ final chance to prevent going an entire calendar year without winning a game. Their last victory was a squeaker in Houston on Nov. 17, 2013 — where, as you might recall, the Texans were in meltdown mode for the season. Matt Schaub got pulled from the game and argued on the sideline with Andre Johnson, Arian Foster was not in the game to begin with, and the Raiders saved themselves with an end-zone interception of Case Keenum at the end of the game. Oh, and Matt McGloin threw for 3 TDs and no INTs, and some guy named Rashad Jennings had 150 rushing yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run. (For even more perspective on how miserable the running game has been, even though Jennings has been out with a sprained MCL since Week 5, his 396 yards and 2 TDs would lead the Raiders right now. Darren McFadden leads the team with 372 yards and 2 TDs, and the Raiders’ season rushing total is only 559 yards and 2 TDs. This includes Derek Carr’s 81 rushing yards.)

Preseason, Week 4: Raiders 41, Seahawks 31

Solid performance all the way around, even for preseason. Carr executed well against Seattle’s starting D, not only leading the team on a full TD drive, but capitalizing on the opportunities given by special teams (forced fumble/recovery and punt return), with two consecutive single-play TDs on short fields. As Schaub was completely unable in last week’s Packers game to make anything out of several great field position opportunities early on, this has to factor into what fans and even the coaches are thinking right now.

I’m still inclined to think that the starting job is Schaub’s to lose, because he has far more experience, but also because this management regime has proven itself remarkably inept at managing and developing the quarterback position for the team all along, and dumping Schaub for Carr to open the season would be admitting yet another high-dollar, high-profile whiff.

That said, Carr made a hell of a case for himself, while McGloin mostly face-planted against the Seahawks aggressive D. It’s hard to say no to four touchdown drives, including three TD passes to three different receivers, and a nearly perfect QB rating. But you also want to give him a fair chance to develop, and not just throw him in the deep end.

In the end the decision may be made for them, sooner rather than later. Schaub has shown little arm strength or zip on his throws, and if his elbow is already bothering him that much after only 47 pass attempts in three preseason games, how is he going to last an entire regular season?

Lot of good things from tonight’s game for the team to build on — the o-line is starting to jell, Murray had some nice carries, as did Atkinson, and both Atkinson and TJ Carrie had nice returns.

And, of course, Derek Carr. Already the Nation seems ready to throw him in against the Jets, and as long as they’re willing to commit to him for at least those first four games, what have they got to lose? Hang on, Nation, it’s going to be a wild ride this season!

Quarterback Dilemma?

Interesting conversation over at Raider Take on the rapidly brewing Schaub vs. McGloin controversy among the fan base. Plenty of good points to be made on either side, but there are a few worth considering before we lose too much perspective:

  • McGloin performed as the starting QB for six of the final seven games last season, winning his first one at Houston (ironically), but dropping the next five, including the 56-31 blowout at home against the Chefs, where McGloin turned the ball over 5 times (4 INT, 1 fumble). The Raiders’ O-line appears to be an upgrade from last season, but the fact is that McGloin has started a few games already. He’s looked great the last couple weeks against second- and third-string defenders, but may just as easily revert to last year’s form against starters.
  • While Schaub’s performance after three preseason games has been underwhelming, there has been no real chance to get in much of a rhythm with the full offensive team and playbook. Jones-Drew and McFadden play only the first few series, as has Schaub himself until last night in Green Bay. He’s had some bad and questionable throws, but multiple receivers, including Jones, Holmes, Little, and Reece have had multiple drops of catchable balls. There’s enough blame to spread around.

One of the biggest concerns with the McKenzie/Allen management/coaching regime is the handling of the quarterback position overall, right from the very start. They let Carson Palmer go, rather than pay him more money, and then brought in Matt Flynn, for way too much money, based on Flynn’s record. They failed to bring in a true #1 wide receiver to complement their choice at quarterback. When Flynn couldn’t get healthy in camp, and couldn’t get it done in preseason, they started Pryor. When Pryor got hurt, they finally started Flynn, and gave up on him — and the $6.5M and draft pick he cost — after a single game, against a Washington team that ultimately went 3-13 and fired their coach.

So they go back to Pryor for the next five games, winning just one game — and that one only because the Steelers somehow managed to miss two easy field goals — before giving McGloin his shot. Then, only after the season is long-lost and they feel the need to see if they have anything in Pryor, they start him for the final game against Denver, which of course wasn’t nearly as close as the 34-14 score indicated.

We’ve all heard the old saw about how when you have two (or more) quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. Nowhere has this been more true than the last couple seasons for the Raiders. They could have found out whether they wanted to keep Pryor by letting him start the final three games of the lost 2012 campaign, instead of waiting until just the very last game. They could have done a better scouting job on Flynn before throwing money at him, then cutting bait after just one game.

Panic and chaos seem to be the prime factors in identifying, developing, and managing QB talent in Oakland these days, and it’s hard to understand exactly how this keeps happening. But one sure way is to insist on switching from one QB to another after a couple of preseason games, which by definition are not very useful in analyzing the entire team picture. Schaub has to push the ball downfield with more decisiveness and fire, yes, but his receivers also have to run their routes and hang on to the ball. And if they can’t, then the management team needs to have more to show for its $65M of cap money in the receiving corps.

It’s not time to panic yet. It won’t even be time to panic if they lose to the Jets in Week 1, unless it’s a blowout and Schaub has a case of the pick-sixes again. In fact, Schaub — or any quarterback — needs to know that he has more than one chance to do the job. The bye week (Week 5) is early this season, probably too early for a team with some key veteran players that need to stay healthy later in the season, but in this case it’s an opportunity to get an honest look at their 17th QB to start since Rich Gannon.

This season’s schedule is notoriously tough, and particularly the first four games — at the Jets, home against Houston, at the Patriots, and against Miami in London (considered a “home” game). If Schaub can’t beat his former team for the home opener, and at least the Jets or the Dolphins, then you have an argument for changing horses and using that early bye week to give either McGloin or Carr a chance. Pushing the panic button right now would just continue the ongoing problem.

No matter who is starting at QB, the regrouped linemen are learning to work together, and the receivers need to do their part as well and seriously improve their end of the game. This falls as much on the coaching and management as it does on who’s actually throwing the ball.