ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin prepared for and made his first three professional starts in 15 days.
He’ll have 10 days clear before his fourth, including a three-day weekend that allowed the undrafted rookie to decompress. He used the time to break down both good plays and bad and really hone in on where things went wrong.
McGloin has played relatively well, making smart decisions and quick throws. He hasn’t been perfect. Can’t be with a 56.9 completion percentage. Can’t be after throwing a jump-ball to a short receiver intercepted in the end zone. Can’t be after turning the ball over twice inside the Raiders 20.
The Raiders aren’t happy about costly miscues. They can be forgiven if they don’t recur.
“You want to see Matt learn and not repeat the same mistakes,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s been pretty good as far as getting the ball out with timing, throwing the ball accurately. We’ve been able to get some explosive passes down the field, so I just really want to see him continue to grow.”
McGloin knows he can get better, and is focused on doing so.
“Any time you watch film, you pick up on things that you can’t believe happened,” McGloin said. “…But, at the same time, you learn from it and you gain experience from it, you keep improving and hope the next time those plays come around you don’t make the same mistake twice.”
Like Terrelle Pryor before him, McGloin is learning on the job. He started the season as a training camp arm and has ascended from fourth string to the starting spot.
There’s a lot of new headed his way each game as opponents try to confuse, bait and force mistakes. That’s proven difficult with McGloin, who is supremely confident in his preparation and his ability.
When he doesn’t make the right decision, McGloin picks apart flawed logic or poor technique to avoid repeats. Take the third-quarter interception intended for receiver Jacoby Ford in the end zone. He and offensive coordinator reviewed the play over and again in attempt to make the mistake productive.
Despite it being a third down situation, a check down to a running back was in order on that play. It might not have produced a first down, but it could’ve avoided a major gaffe.
“That was very unlike Matt because it was not a desperation-type moment that required a desperation throw,” Olson said. “He knows to read the play out, understand what coverage you’re seeing and read the play out, and if you have the throw take the throw and if not, he knows to check it down the back. He learned a lesson after seeing that and watching it unfold on tape that. He’ll learn from it.”
Olson on McGloin, bad weather
McGloin processed a significant amount of information during his trial by fire and still played well. That has impressed the coaches and kept him in the starting spot. There’s much more to learn, but McGloin’s correction-making process gives the Raiders confidence he’ll continue to improve.
“He started three NFL games in a 12-day period. To be able to play well with the limited reps that he had to start the season has been impressive,” Olson said. “And then to have to play two games in a five-day period, to put together that next game plan and to absorb it and be able to go out and execute was also a positive. We didn’t win the game, but we feel like Matt is coming along and doing his part and will continue to get better. He’s taken it all in stride. I think we see improvement, and that’s what we ask for. We want that constant, never ending self-improvement, and he’s continuing to work at it.”