ALAMEDA — With the Raiders’ bye week nearly three weeks removed, the team has battled through two whoopings of varying degrees and two substantial personnel losses.
In Week 9, Darren McFadden was injured. And in Week 10 quarterback Terrelle Pryor aggravated a knee injury that appears worse than initially expected.
The Silver and Black travel to Houston for week 11 to face a team that seems equally battered and bruised. Texans’ Case Keenum, who started the regular season as the team’s third quarterback, will get the nod.
The Raiders have not made an announcement on a starter. Though there’s a possibility Pryor will be able to start, it’s equally possible that Sunday will become the battle of the backups.
It’s the third time this season that a game is just days away and there is no clear starter. But the words “competitive advantage” were absent from head coach Dennis Allen’s Wednesday press conference.
Besides praising the Texans offense of late, Allen was mum on details. He did make it clear, though, that Pryor will not be losing his starting job:
“I think we have our quarterback in Terrelle Pryor and we’re going to go with him (if healthy).”
In typical fashion, Allen also gave praise to backup quarterback Matt McGloin.
Both have their strengths and those abilities will be implemented into the game plan. McGloin said:
“We’re two different quarterbacks. Terrelle is a great athlete can run he can throw, he can do a lot of things. Obviously I don’t have the running ability that he has, but I do bring some good things to the table.”
McGloin has been working with the first team offense while Pryor stands in the background with no pads and a ball-cap. He offered tight spirals in downfield throws, but displayed a rookie’s touch while passing into the flat. The foundation seems solid for McGloin.
During his senior year at Penn State, he threw 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions which gave him a 137.7 passer rating for the season. McGloin appears confident, not in his abilities alone but with the amount of preparation he’s put in:
“I’ve never really doubted (that I could play in the NFL after being undrafted) and I don’t want to sound arrogant but I think that’s a mindset that a lot of quarterback’s need to have. You have to believe in yourself and believe you can play at this level.”
Though he may not call it a chip on his shoulder, McGloin has a history of feeling like he needs to prove himself.
The youngest of three brothers, McGloin has been trying to impress them his entire life. Toughness and perhaps a unique confidence arose from his upbringing, though he said it doesn’t hold him back from being a little nervous:
“Nerves will be there, nerves will always be there, but if you don’t have any nerves then you’re playing the wrong sport. If I need to go, I’ll be prepared. It’s not my call, it’s up to coach Allen, but I’ll be ready if they need me.”
Wide receiver Rod Streater agrees. Playing in his second year and with his second Raiders quarterback, Streater knows what to look for at that position. He said:
“He’s made a lot of progress (since training camp), he knows the plays a lot better and I feel like he’s more confident under center. He was making his throws and looking very good at practice today.”
A final decision on a starting quarterback is expected to come before Saturday.