Another disappointing 4-12 campaign has anxious fans all across the Raider Nation gnashing their teeth. With the fifth pick in the upcoming draft, some Raider fans are hoping that somehow the team will find a way to take either Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater. Fans want the team to make a splash by nabbing a big name quarterback they think will lead the franchise back to greatness. But the Raiders have far more glaring needs that have to be addressed before they can even think about taking that next step. They also already have a solid quarterback who can help them do that. His name is Matt McGloin.
There is no question that Terrelle Pryor can be flashy and dazzling. But he is not going to lead the Raiders anywhere. Not now, not ever. In limited time last season, McGloin showed that even though he may not be as flashy as Pryor, he is capable of providing something the Raiders haven't had at the quarterback position for quite a long time, steady, solid, and productive leadership.
In very limited action last season, McGloin developed a solid and productive rapport with receivers Rod Streater and Andre Holmes as well as tight end Mychal Rivera. His 56% completion percentage was just a tick under Pryor's but his yards per game was significantly higher. He also had a higher average yards per attempt and quarterback rating overall. Despite having played fewer games, McGloin still had nearly as many total yards passing as Pryor (1547 – 1798). And for all of Pryor's flash and speed, he took far more sacks (31) than McGloin did (6).
With an offensive line that gave up 44 sacks to their opponents, a defense ranked 11th against the run, 27th against the pass and 29th in points against per game, it's obvious that there are a lot of holes to be filled. Those are not things that either Johnny Football or Teddy Bridgewater can fix. The Raiders need to draft smart, address their most glaring needs and groom the talent already in their stable.
Yes, McGloin had some rough patches in 2013. He threw four picks to the Kansas City Chiefs in a December blowout loss. A loss in which the defense surrendered an astonishing 56 points. Though he threw those four picks, McGloin did also toss 2 touchdowns, threw for nearly 300 yards and led the team to 31 points. Had the defense been able to contain the Chiefs in any way whatsoever, it likely would have been a much closer game. McGloin's record as a starter is 1-5 but it was late defensive collapses that cost him, and the team, quite a few wins in 2013.
Head coach Dennis Allen is on record as saying that he doesn't know if the Raiders franchise QB is, "in the building right now." But McGloin showed flashes that he could be just that. He can only benefit from having the ability to take all of the first team snaps, learn the playbook inside and out and further develop his chemistry with the young receiving corps. Though there were rocky moments, McGloin acquitted himself incredibly well in the limited, chaotic time he was given.
The Raiders need to concentrate their efforts in the draft in shoring up a horribly porous offensive line, getting some stoppers in the secondary and putting some run stopping beef on the defensive line. They need to retain Rashad Jennings as their featured back, let the oft-injured Darren McFadden walk (limp) away and perhaps sign another running back to strengthen an already potent rushing game. Perhaps they can snag a playmaking receiver as well. One can't have too many weapons, after all. The Raider brain trust needs to be smart in this draft and not let the popular cries of "Johnny Football" distract them from laying a solid foundation for this team.
More than anything, the Raiders need consistency and stability. Owner Mark Davis knows that and that's why Dennis Allen and GM Reggie McKenzie are returning. This year, they finally have some room under the cap to maneuver and they would do well to use that space to address areas of need.
But they already have what they need at the quarterback position. McGloin needs a little time and help to develop of course, but he's shown that he has the skill set to be a terrific passer in this league. Coach Allen would do well to groom him and let him grow with these young receivers. The result might develop into one of the more potent passing attacks in the league.
Your franchise QB is in the building already, Coach Allen. It's your job to hone and sharpen him.