'Explosive' plays helping Matt McGloin

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
7:10
PM ET
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen has said from Day 1 that the NFL is a results-oriented business. He also pounds the pulpit by saying he'll use the players that give the Raiders the best chance to win.

So why, then, is Matt McGloin still the Raiders' starting quarterback after he threw four interceptions, lost a fumble and seemed to force throws when he drifted in the pocket in the Raiders' record-breaking 56-31 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday?

McGloin's record as a starter is now 1-4. Terrelle Pryor is 3-5. Matt Flynn was 0-1.

[+] EnlargeMatt McGloin
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesSince he became the Raiders starter, Matt McGloin leads the NFL in completions of at least 25 yards.
Part of it is because McGloin has given Allen enough glimpses of positive plays, particularly explosive plays.

Consider: Since McGloin became the Raiders' starter against the Houston Texans on Nov. 17, he has an NFL-high 15 completions of at least 25 yards. The QB with the second-highest number of such throws in that time frame? Some dude in the Arizona desert named Carson Palmer, with 13.

And Allen insisted the Raiders would continue with the QB Carousel, so to speak.

“Well, listen, we're still looking at it,” Allen said. “We're still looking at it. We want to still be able to use Terrelle in certain situations, but Matt's our starting quarterback. I think he's earned that right and he's gone in and played well.

“He didn't play well (against the Chiefs). He made some mistakes ... it's tough to learn from those rookie mistakes and those young mistakes. Those are, it hurts for all of us.”

The questions, then, are these: is either McGloin or Pryor the Raiders' QB of the future? And if not, with the poor track record of this regime in an admittedly small sample size of identifying a quarterback, can Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie be trusted in finding one?

Or have you forgotten how Palmer was shipped out of town in favor of Flynn? Or how the Raiders drafted Tyler Wilson in the fourth round and then cut him not once, but twice? How Pryor looked legit early and then faded? How McGloin basically earned the starting gig as a street free agent?

“Hey, listen, sometimes things don't work out,” Allen said. “Sometimes mistakes are made. But I don't think that's, listen, I'm confident in Reggie McKenzie and the personnel staff in being able to evaluate football players, quarterbacks, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, I'm very confident in his ability to do that, I'm very confident in our ability as a coaching staff to be able to do that.

“Obviously, we've seen something in Matt McGloin that we like, that we think, there's something there as a quarterback. I think he's proven that. I think he's also proven that he's still a young player and he's going to make some mistakes. But I'm very confident in our ability to evaluate all positions.”

McGloin has a season QB rating of 78.8 in completing 55.7 percent of his passes for 1,341 yards and eight touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Pryor's rating is 66.3 on a 57.9 completion percentage as he has passed for 1,591 yards with five TDs and 11 picks. He has also rushed for 527 yards on 74 carries, including a record-for-a-QB 93-yard touchdown run. He also has nine passes of at least 25 yards, with eight runs of 20-plus yards.

Allen was in his first year as an assistant coach with the New Orleans Saints when the Saints brought in Drew Brees.

“You look at all the great teams in the league that have been at the top of the league for a long period of time,” Allen said, “all of them have that great franchise quarterback. And that's what all of them are striving to get.”

Yes, including the Raiders.

Paul Gutierrez

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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