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Matt McGloin Who?

In seems improbable to think former Penn State Nittany Lion McGloin will be starting an NFL game this weekend, as he was an initial afterthought in the Raiders’ quarterback depth chart earlier this off-season.

Matt McGloin
Matt McGloin

Aug 16, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Flynn (15) before a preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Out of all the unheard of back-up quarterback investigative studies (Case Keenum, Austin Davis, Scott Tolzien) published on XN Sports, this one on undrafted Oakland Raiders’ rookie quarterback Matt McGloin was the hardest one to write.

The reason is because it means McGloin will be playing at the expense of fantasy football sometimes darling, and #KonamiCode king, Terrelle Pryor.

Nothing’s official yet regarding Pryor’s status for this Sunday’s game versus the Houston Texans, but the signs are pointing towards Pryor being shut down for the week, and McGloin starting in his place. If Pryor doesn’t play it’ll be the second time this season he will have missed a game.

The first game Pryor was held out of was Week’s 4 match-up versus the Washington Redskins, but unlike last time, when Matt Flynn was the substitute starter, McGloin is the next man up.

Flynn has since moved onto Green Bay, with a stop in Buffalo along the way, and his departure promoted the undrafted McGloin to back-up duties.

In seems improbable to think former Penn State Nittany Lion McGloin will be starting an NFL game this weekend, as he was an initial afterthought in the Raiders’ quarterback depth chart earlier this off-season.

Flynn was the big money acquisition, and probable starter, while Pryor and fourth-round rookie draft pick Tyler Wilson were expected to battle it out for the back-up job. If McGloin were to make the team at all, it would have been more likely as a practice squader, than anything else. Except the Raiders decided to stick with McGloin, and it’s Wilson who wound up on the team’s practice squad.

Fast forward to Week 11 of the 2013 NFL season, and here is McGloin, not only not on the practice squad, but on the active roster, with a chance to start his first NFL regular season game.

I would say the thought of NFL starting quarterback Matt McGloin isn’t as absurd as you might think it is upon first glance. Especially not after you remember we’ve seen the following unheralded quarterbacks make starts this season: Case Keenum, Mike Glennon, Thaddeus Lewis, Jeff Tuel, and Brian Hoyer. And let’s not forget Scott Tolzien is expected to make his first ever NFL start this week as well.

If McGloin does start, as Rotoworld says may be the case, based on the opinions of Raiders beat writers, then it’s time to figure out who Matt McGloin is.

Before the season started, when Pryor was being kicked around as the quarterback to start for the Raiders,’s Mike Silver mentioned there were some people in the Raiders’ organization of the belief McGloin was a better option than Pryor.

After the start Pryor had to the season that statement became laughable, but the more the season went on, the more you started to wonder about Pryor’s abilities.

Were NFL teams catching up to Pryor, and if so why? Was it because his offensive line couldn’t protect him, much less a plastic bag from the wind? Was it due to injury? Whatever the reason(s) may be, Pryor isn’t the same quarterback in the last four games, than he was in his first four games.

To read up more on Pryor’s struggles, you can check out this article detailing the Jekyll/Hyde season Pryor has had.

Now those same individuals who once though McGloin was a better option than Pryor get to find out if they were right, or if they should have been careful what they wished for.

To figure out who McGloin is, it’s best to start in college, and I was clued into McGloin’s collegiate past by my good Twitter friend Eric Hardter of

At Penn State, McGloin went from being a walk-on to the starting quarterback for Penn State, where he eventually set a school record for passing yards his senior year (3,271). He also had a 24:5 passing touchdown to interception ratio that year, and also set the all-time Penn State passing touchdowns record.

Whether McGloin’s play was due to his talents or the offensive system put in place when the school hired Bill O’Brien as their head coach is unknown, but Hardter mentioned O’Brien had a “galvanizing effect on McGloin’s play,” and that he was shocked McGloin was able to secure a NFL roster spot.

Here are the good and bad evaluations of Hardter’s report on McGloin:

The bad:
“Doesn’t possess a ton of natural physical talent. He’s on the small side (6’1″, 210), not overly mobile, and often times tries to write checks that his arm just can’t cash.”

The good:
“Smart player, and is very accurate with his ball placement. He can hit the short to intermediate routes with relative ease, and if he plays within his own limitations there’s no reason he can’t function as a Chad Pennington-esque signal caller.”

What I’ve gathered from Hardter’s profile, and the research I’ve compiled about McGloin, is he’s defied the odds whatever the situation.

Whether it was going from walk-on to starter, being undrafted to being on an active NFL roster, where he might be a starting NFL quarterback, McGloin has made it a habit to change people’s opinions of him as anything but a fringe afterthought.

Will any of that matter though if he gets to start in the NFL?

In his one relief appearance for Pryor this year, McGloin went 7-of-15 for 87 yards against the Eagles in Week 9.

If you don’t remember much of that game it was the Nick Foles seven touchdown game, and by the time McGloin entered the game the Raiders were losing 49-13, meaning the Eagles defense didn’t really have any reason to go after McGloin hard.

Pro Football Focus graded McGloin -1.2 for his Week 9 relief performance.

The pre-season wasn’t all that impressive for McGloin either, as he went 20-of-35 for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. Three out of his four preseason appearances resulted in negative grades from PFF.

If McGloin does start this weekend, it looks to be a one time deal, as long as Pryor can return to health, meaning you might not want to look at McGloin as anything more than a one time bye-week fill-in versus the Houston Texans this week.

With only the Cowboys (Romo), and Rams (Clemens) on byes this week, McGloin might not even get claimed off your waiver wire.

If you have a free roster spot, McGloin could be picked up as a speculative add, or as a preventative counter move before the Pryor owner in your 2-QB league picks him up.

As for McGloin’s Week 11 match-up versus the Houston Texans, it could be worse. In their past two games, following a Week 8 bye, the Texans have given up an average of 256 passing yards, and a combined five passing touchdowns to Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer.

Also, according to PFF, the Texans have a -28.3 pass coverage grade, ranking the fifth-worst in that category. The only teams ranked worse than the Texans in pass coverage by PFF are the Chargers, Redskins, Vikings, and Jets.

The flip side to that is the Texans have the seventh-best PFF pass rush grade, at 22.7, and the Raiders’ offensive line has already given up 36 sacks this season, which is tied for the second most sacks allowed in the NFL this season.

We now know more about Matt McGloin than we ever did before, which for me was knowing his parents owned a flower shop, but now McGloin is poised to join the ranks of Scott Tolzien, Mike Glennon, Case Keenum, et al., as NFL starting quarterbacks.

John Lund of posted a video titled ‘Dream Chasers: Matt McGloin‘, in this article, and was kind enough to transcribe the last paragraph for us:

“To those saying to me now you’ll never make it, all I have to say is this, watch me. You’re damn right I live my life and play with a chip on my shoulder because there is honor and worthy achievement in proving wrong the myth of impossibility.”

In the same article, they have Raiders Head Coach Dennis quoted as saying: “I like what he brings to the table as far as his competitiveness. He’s got some moxie to him. He just understands how to play the game and I don’t think it will be too big for him. So I like what this kid has to work with.”

Week 11 will give McGloin one more opportunity to defy the odds, and in 2-QB those are odds we have no choice but to at least take notice of.

*Stats used in this article from,, PFF, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, and

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