Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. Matt McGloin will make his first NFL start in Pryor's stead.
The team downgraded Pryor's playing status on Saturday morning before travelling to Houston. Trainers examined his sprained right knee one last time, and determined that it was nowhere close to game ready.
Pryor's injury was initially considered minor. He didn't deem it a big deal after spraining his MCL on Nov. 3 against Philadelphia, but the pain increased after a week's practice and Sunday's loss to the New York Giants. Pryor was clearly worse for the wear, and was practically immobile after Thursday's practice.
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Fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson will be promoted from the practice squad and will be McGloin's backup.
McGloin is well prepped for Sunday's game. He took all the first-team reps on Wednesday and Friday. He split them on Thursday. He feels confident in his ability to lead the offense and guide the Raiders to victory.
"It was great getting reps this week," McGloin said. "You see things differently when you¹re in the middle of everything. The mental preparation is always there, and I'm glad I was able to support that with some physical prep this week. I focused each and every day. I thought the entire unit looked good this week. As an offense, we're ready."
The offense will revert back to the scheme originally designed for Matt Flynn. It's a system based on short passes and timing routes and will accent a power rushing game featuring Rashad Jennings.
McGloin will benefit from a suddenly healthy offensive line. Tony Pashos returns at right tackle and Andre Gurode should add quality experience at left guard.
[RELATED: Raiders' Pashos set to return]
McGloin, an undrafted rookie out of Penn State, has made an improbable ascent into the starting lineup. Coach Dennis Allen conceded Friday that McGloin was brought in to be a "camp arm," but his accuracy and poise kept him employed far longer than expected.
He was the emergency quarterback until Week 3, when he was promoted to primary backup when Flynn was released. The Raiders auditioned three veteran quarterbacks, but chose to stick with McGloin.
Pryor's elusive, improvisational style increased McGloin's odds of playing. He made a cameo against the Eagles, coordinating two drives and one touchdown.
Now he's on the cusp of a full-game assignment against the NFL's No. 1 total defense. The Raiders believe he can handle the responsibility.
"When he first got here he was just a camp arm, and he's just gone about his business on a day-in and day-out basis and never has really let anything affect him," Allen said. "Early on he wasn't getting a whole lot of reps, and he just kept working his way up.
"Matt's done a great job this whole time. He has a little bit of that 'it' factor about playing the quarterback position. He's got a lot of confidence in himself, and we've got a lot of confidence in him."