Up until last week, Raiders rookie quarterback, Matt McGloin, has had to outperform expectations of him. No one expected a lot from him so he played as if he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Now he has three starts under his belt and must work to remain there.
It has been said that reaching the top is not near as difficult and staying there. In that regard, McGloin saw his top performance in his first start in which he threw three touchdowns with no turnovers en route to a win in Houston over the Texans.
He has come back to earth somewhat since then including having two turnovers last week against the Cowboys. Now he has to learn from that and move forward.
"Every time you watch film or you watch your last game, you pick up on things that you can't believe happened," said McGloin. "Last week the fumbled snap. Again, I've been snapping with that guy since college. Things like that shouldn't happen, you can't believe happened. And of course the interception in the end; another bad, bad, bad mistake by me. It's just stuff like that you can't believe happened but at the same time you learn from it, you gain experience from it, you keep improving, and you hope that the next time those plays come around you don't make the same mistake twice."
His head coach echoed those sentiments.
"I think the biggest thing for Matt is to continue to go out there and learn from the mistakes," said Dennis Allen. "He made a couple of mistakes in the game the other day, you wanna see him learn from that and not repeat the same mistakes. He's been pretty good as far as getting the ball out with timing, throwing the ball accurately, we've been able to get some explosive passes down the field. I just want to see him continue... because he's still a young player."
McGloin's offensive coordinator has a lot of faith in his young upstart quarterback and sees things a bit differently than McGloin does. Despite the results, he doesn't see a player who is on a decline but rather a player who is improving.
"I always say intelligence plays a big factor and an important ingredient to play football at this level in the National Football League," said Greg Olson. "He possesses that and again he's still a rookie. He's started three NFL games here in like a 15 day period and to be able to play with the limited reps that he had to start the season and then to have to play two games in a five day period and be able to put together that next game plan and for him to be able to absorb it and to be able to go out and execute... certainly we didn't win the game but we feel like Matt is coming along and doing his part and will continue to get better. That's not an easy task for any quarterback and he's taken it and we see improvement which is what we've asked for, that constant, never ending self-improvement and he's continued to work at it."
Players in McGloin's situation can't afford to have many bad days. He came in for an injured Terrelle Pryor and has played well enough to keep the job thus far.
"I just think that right now he is continuing to improve. We always talk about the opportunity. He was given the opportunity when Terrelle got hurt and he's running with it right now."
The coaching staff needs to see if he can be the quarterback moving forward. If he falters, Pryor is waiting in the wings. This leaves little room for error if you're McGloin. It also means striking the right combination of fixing his issues and having a short term memory to look to the next game.
"Well, you have to as a quarterback position," said McGloin. "You have to learn from those mistakes and move on because everybody's expecting you to not make the same mistake twice because if you do you're not gonna be in the starting position for long."
He has the right perspective. Now he must put to work for him and find the same success in New York that he had in Houston.