The preseason is Matt McGloin's time these days. The former starter was inactive for much of last season, dropping to third on the depth chart behind rookie Derek Carr and failed revival project, Matt Schaub. This year with Schaub's depature and the arrival of Christian Ponder, McGloin was once again sitting at third on the depth chart.
McGloin has done nothing but earn his way since the Raiders signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He fought past the likes of Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor, and fourth round pick Tyler Wilson to start as a rookie by midseason. Though, all the team has ever done is think they can find someone better.
When Ponder arrived in Oakland, all he had done to earn the backup QB job was be familiar with new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's offense and was handed the second team QB job ahead of McGloin. Despite Jack Del Rio insisting there would be a battle at the number two spot throughout the offseason, Ponder held onto the second team duties throughout the offseason, training camp, and preseason.
By every account, McGloin has outplayed Ponder. But as has always been the case for McGloin, it took the entire preseason to make that glaringly obvious to everyone, including his coaches.
That moment happened Thursday night when he awakening a stagnant offense and led the team on two touchdown drives. In total, he went 16 of 24 (66.7% completion) for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns in a little over two quarters of work.
That performance capped a preseason in which he easily led all Raiders passers with a 110.6 preseason passer rating along with 424 passing yards on 42-for-57 passing (73.7 percent) with four touchdowns and one interception.
Thursday night, he and Ponder split time. Ponder played the first and fourth quarter and McGloin played the second and third. By the end of the game, it was apparent to anyone watching that McGloin had done more than enough to win the primary backup job in Oakland behind Derek Carr. In the process, McGloin also gave his coaches some confidence should McGloin ever need to enter the game for Carr.
"At the end of the day it's on you," said McGloin. "You gotta go out and you gotta play well, you gotta know the offense and you gotta perform when you get on the field. We're having a lot of fun competing day in and day out."
"It's not my decision." McGloin said of the primary backup job. "Every day I just focus on showing up and working hard in the film room, and working hard in the weight room doing my best on the practice field to be ready if they want me to play."
The next Raiders practice is Sunday. If Ponder is still trotting out with the second team offense, one would have to seriously begin questioning the judgment of the Raiders' coaches with regard to personnel decisions.