No player on the football field needs to command the respect and passion of his teammates more than the quarterback. When the players want to win for their quarterback, it's a lot more likely they will win.
Respect was something Terrelle Pryor had from his teammates due to his work ethic, passion, and eagerness to bring up his teammates. When he was out with a concussion in week four and Matt Flynn took over, the team rallied around Flynn. But, after the poor showing in the game, Flynn didn't take responsibility for his mistakes and then moped around the locker room for a week. He lost the team quickly and the Raiders cut him shortly thereafter.
Now, Pryor is injured again. This time it's his knee, so it was again a question of how the team would respond to his replacement. That response has been all positive. Sure, the win helps, but it is much more than that.
McGloin has a tremendous story of perseverance that started as a kid and continued through high school, college, and into the pros to get where he is now. Here are the highlights of that journey.
A former walk-on at Penn State who went through the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the resignation of Joe Paterno to working his way into the starting job as a senior, setting school records with a new head coach and a program in disarray, not getting invited to the scouting combine, going undrafted, going unsigned as a free agent, then trying out for two teams and being turned down before coming to the Raiders as what Dennis Allen referred to as a "camp arm". Making the roster over the team's fourth round draft pick and working his way from fourth string up the depth chart to starting halfway through his rookie season.
What he has overcome has made him into quite a confident guy. You don't come from where he's come from and get to where he is now without gaining a lot of respect from teammates and coaches along the way.
"I think the players, they know Matt McGloin's story," said Greg Olson. "They know his story at Penn State and they've had a chance to be around him and see how hard he prepares and how hard he works and how important football is to him and how important it was for him to make this football team. He's always taken the game very, very seriously and I know they have a lot of respect for him for that and he's got that somewhat of a dry sense of humor. He's easy to gravitate to, I think. The players would say that."
"He's a very intelligent player, he's very competitive and those type of people, other people like being around. So, he's endeared himself to his teammates and he's done a real good job of that since he's been here."
This respect includes that of Terrelle Pryor himself who has also had to put in the work to get where he is now.
"I think any player, [Pryor] understands how hard Matt McGloin has worked as well," Olson continued. "Unfortunately that's part of the business and it's never easy to let a player know that he may or may not be starting or if they're making a change at a position. In this case, Terrelle was injured and opened up the door for Matt [McGloin] and Matt took advantage of that opportunity. Just as Terrelle did it when Matt Flynn opened up the door. I think it's a good room. . . they all respect one another and that makes it much easier when you've got guys that wanna help one another out. That makes the transition obviously smoother."
In case you hadn't seen the video Matt McGloin sent to NFL teams before the draft, watch it and you'll see why it's not hard for this Raiders team to get behind their scrappy new quarterback.