Matt McGloin has got a fan, and he’s been wearing navy blue with dashes of orange.
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak has been in the NFL for a long time, certainly long enough to recognize talent. And McGloin’s presence hasn’t gone unnoticed to him, even though Derek Carr has started every game for the Raiders since being drafted in 2014. Kubiak said:
“He beat us a few years ago. I’m not sure what year it was, they all run together. I’m really impressed with the young man. I think every time he’s been given the chance, he’s done a really good job.”
The game in which McGloin led the Raiders to a win was in 2013, when Kubiak was Houston’s head coach and right after Terrelle Pryor was benched for failing to disclose and injury to Dennis Allen and the rest of the coaching staff.
The Red Rifle completed 18-of-32 passing attempts and threw three touchdowns, en route to a 28-23 Raiders win at NRG Stadium in Houston.
The day should have stuck with coach Kubiak, it was McGloin’s first career start, as an undrafted rookie playing on a very bad roster and with only three wins entering Week 10.
It’s the game that Raiders fans can point to when searching for optimism, and why McGloin is considered by at least a few to be a high-upside backup quarterback at the NFL level.
And though Carr is out indefinitely, perhaps the front-runner to M.V.P. honors and certainly a major reason why the Raiders are 12-3, Kubiak suggested that there are still a lot of things to deal with:
“Now you have the adjustment with the new, young quarterback. I mean, I don’t know. They’re capable of doing everything. They’re built really good. They’re very talented across the board. Mike Tice has done a super job with the front. They’re very tough to deal with up front.”
Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. has also noticed some dangerous elements to McGloin’s game:
“Right now I see him as a gunslinger. From the past and watching him play, he doesn’t have any fear. He can fit the ball into coverage. That’s something I’ve seen from him in the past.”
Oakland’s new starting quarterback will break in against one of the league’s toughest defenses, but listening to him talk, it’s clear that he’s not afraid. He’s the underdog that always seems to get it done, at least his demeanor says so. McGloin said:
“I’ve obviously gotten that question a lot throughout my career, playing with a chip on your shoulder and things like that. I don’t necessarily think I play that way. I mean, I really enjoy playing the game. I really enjoy competition, I enjoy being out there with the guys and playing the game and doing well and winning.”
And Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has issued some basic words of advice to the fourth-year veteran:
“What little bit I’ve said thus far is be yourself. Be who you are. Make your plays. Let us all do our jobs around you. You don’t have to put the world on your shoulders. It’s not your responsibility. We ask everybody to do their job. Understand what your role is and get that done for us. It’s no different for him.”
Some of Denver’s defensive stars may not play this weekend, namely defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who was placed on injured reserve this week, and safety T.J. Ward, who is in the league’s concussion protocol.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.