Raiders quarterbacks Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor have contrasting styles. Pryor’s an athletic playmaker who can elude, run and improvise on the fly. McGloin is a more prototypical pocket passer with a cannon arm and poise as his greatest assets.
If McGloin starts Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans as expected, the Raiders offense must adjust accordingly.
“With Matt in there, we’re probably not running as many read-option plays and that type of stuff,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said, “but the basis of the offense and what we did isn’t a whole lot different.”
It will be a stripped-down version of what Pryor runs, similar to the scheme originally designed for then starter and now castoff Matt Flynn.
Coordinator Greg Olson set up a scheme based on ball control, with short passes and timing routes to accent a power running game. That’s what the Raiders planned to run this season, before Pryor’s unique ability changed things up. They’ll go back to it on Sunday if McGloin makes his first NFL start.
“I think the team has been great this week as far as understanding and seeing the situation at the quarterback position,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “They’re very comfortable with the previous system before with Matt Flynn.”
Raiders skill players will operate under different guidelines with McGloin, focused more on precise route running without worrying about many broken plays.
“They have two different styles, but we’ll be fine playing with Matt,” receiver Rod Streater said. “I really like how Matt releases the ball fast. He gets it out quick and he has a cannon. There’s a lot of zip to it. When we get out of breaks, the ball should be right there.”
McGloin is supremely confident in his ability to run the offense. He feels comfortable with the scheme and his role within it. He always believed that, but getting a week’s reps instilled greater confidence.
“It was great getting reps this week,” McGloin said. “You see things differently when you’re 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.”
His work has inspired confidence in those around him.
“I’ve been rooting for him since camp,” running back Rashad Jennings said. “He came in here with a lot of hunger, a lot of drive. He wants to win. He’s a competitor. He’s precise in everything he does and goes through his progressions well. You can tell he’s comfortable out there now. That’s a good thing for him and the offense as a whole.”
The Raiders will be reliant on McGloin if he starts, and the undrafted rookie from Penn State will lean heavily on Jennings and the running game. Darren McFadden has been ruled out yet again with a hamstring injury, leaving Jennings to carry the load. He’s fared well in two weeks as feature back, and must again in the new/old Raiders offense.
Without a stable quarterback, it won’t matter what Jennings does. The Raiders believe they have a player who can lead them if necessary.
“He’s a kid with good character, both football character and off-field character,” Allen said. “I think he’s prepared if he’s called on to go.”