Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin doesn’t believe in following the script.
Sure, the 24-year-old backup quarterback follows orders, but scripts, he’ll leave those for others.
McGloin, the undrafted quarterback who beat out 2013 fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson for a roster spot a year ago, instead writes his own destiny. To be crystal clear: McGloin is the furthest thing from insubordinate. It’s just, if things always went the way they were supposed to, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound quarterback certainly wouldn’t be where he is.
A brief recap: After walking on at Penn State and then starting two full seasons, he was left off the NFL Combine invitee list. Going undrafted, Oakland brought him in as what head coach Dennis Allen termed as a “camp arm.” McGloin’s moxie and fiery-eyed demeanor, though, carried over to the field. He won a place on the 53-man roster and started six games for the Silver and Black.
This offseason, the Raiders traded for veteran Matt Schaub in March. In May, general manager Reggie McKenzie selected Fresno State’s Derek Carr with a second-round pick.
“Any time a quarterback who starts the year before and then the team brings in a new guy to take your job, it’s frustrating,” McGloin told FOXSports.com in a telephone interview. “I could be disappointed, but at the same time my mindset has always been, ‘Look, what can I do about this?’ I can only control what I can control. Do I want to be that guy who pouts and complains? Or do I want to be that guy that says I’m accepting the challenge? I’m going to come in and compete with him.
“I’m still going to act like I’m the starter and prepare like I’m the starter.”
He’s stubborn as hell. That’s a good thing. Raised on hard work and competition from a blue-collar family in Scranton, Penn., McGloin is tough.
“I think a part of it is the area I’m from,” McGloin said. “It’s a coal region. It’s not a wealthy area. It’s a hard-working, hard-nosed town. Grab your lunch pail and go to work each day.”
While Schaub will be sidelined by elbow tendinitis in the Raiders’ preseason finale Thursday night against the Seahawks, Carr will make his first career start. McGloin, however, is set to cap a fairly impressive stretch.
Of course, even he qualifies the last three outings by saying, “It’s just the preseason.”
Yes, the majority of his snaps have come against the opposing team’s backup defense. Yes, McGloin has also been victim of more than a couple dropped passes. No, he won’t use that as an excuse.
“As a quarterback you have to play your game,” McGloin said. “You have to know that bad things are going to happen. You’re going to get sacked. You’re going to throw incompletions and interceptions. As a quarterback, if you know it’s going to happen, it’s a lot easier to understand how to respond. You have to have a short memory. Keep a level head. Never get too high. Never get too low. That’s how you play well on a regular basis.”
Earlier this week, Pro Football Focus named McGloin as having the highest preseason grade of any quarterback in the entire league. It’s not by accident, either.
In three appearances, McGloin has accounted for four touchdowns, while completing 56 percent of his throws for 366 yards. Don’t let the box score fool you, though. McGloin moves the chains and has put the team in scoring position frequently.
After Carr exited with concussion-like symptoms against the Lions in the second week of the preseason, McGloin piloted a scoring drive, punctuated by a 19-yard strike to Brice Butler.
"I’ve said all along I like our quarterback room," Allen said earlier this week, via SFGate.com. "I think we’ve got three very capable quarterbacks."
Another year in offensive coordinator Greg Olson’s system surely adds some comfort. The growth, though, according to McGloin, has come from some self-evaluation during the offseason.
After organized team activities, McGloin studied the details of each start in his rookie season. He wasn’t just breaking down his reads and progressions; instead it was an internal look.
“Honestly, I was disappointed in myself,” McGloin said. “I couldn’t believe I was actually watching myself on film. I thought in terms of being a quarterback, being a leader, the calls I was making, the footwork weren’t there. Now I think I’m just on a different level. I feel stronger. I feel more flexible. I think my footwork is a lot better and the ball is coming out with more zip. I’m seeing a lot of positives, but at the same time I know I can get better.”
As cut-down day approaches, McGloin takes pride in the progress he has made. It has shown. It’s up to others to take notice.
“I don’t worry about where I’m at on the depth chart,” he continued. “When I get in there, I make the most of the reps I get. That’s all I can control. I can’t control what moves they make. But what I can control is if I’m prepared every day. If I know what I’m doing and where I’m going with the football.
“At the end of the day, I can walk off the field satisfied.”