Editor’s note: This is the third part in a series that spotlights three Titans-Raiders matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m., at Oakland Coliseum.
Titans pass defense vs. Raiders QB Matt McGloin
Tale of the tape:
Titans defense: Ranked No. 10 overall in the NFL, No. 7 against the pass
McGloin (14): 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, rookie season, Penn State
Matt McGloin’s production level was extremely high against the Houston Texans. The Raiders’ undrafted rookie quarterback had 197 passing yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and one full game tape.
Houston didn’t have much to go on heading into the last game, just preseason film against lackluster competition and a brief cameo in garbage time versus Philadelphia.
McGloin put on a show in his first NFL start. He flashed a strong arm, a quick release and decisiveness derived from intense preparation. He also showed a penchant for throwing before a receiver got open, trusting his man would create space and make a catch.
That game provided clues the Titans will use against McGloin. The reigning NFL rookie of the week must be ready to deal with whatever creative coordinator Greg Williams throws at him.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen worked under Williams and understands his blitz philosophy. While that will help, McGloin must still deal with Tennessee’s top-tier talent.
The Titans have the NFL’s 10th-ranked total defense and are No. 7 against the pass. They’ve given up just three passing touchdowns over their last eight games and have allowed just seven all season.
In other words, McGloin has a tall task ahead.
“They’re a good team, we’re aware of that,” McGloin said. “We have our hands full, but we’re ready for the challenge.”
McGloin knows the Titans prefer to play man-to-man coverage, and have the talent to do so without much help. He knows that allows Williams to blitz aggressively. Above all else, McGloin must prepare for the unknown.
The Raiders believe he’s ready.
“I just think that, in the way he prepares, he’s going to be fine,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “Certainly as a rookie quarterback, he’s going to get thrown some blitzes here this weekend that he hasn’t seen, but as long as he applies his rules and he understands where the protection issues are, how to get in and out of different protects – which he does because of his intelligence – he’ll be all right, as long as he applies his rules.”
McGloin was near perfect against Houston, but he’s bound to make mistakes. He needs to rebound well. He also needs to play better on third down, and keep the offense moving all four quarters. The Raiders couldn’t hold leads without consistently sustained drives, which led to a close game.
In order to keep the Raiders in the playoff hunt and to stay in the starting lineup, McGloin must play well and start the Raiders first winning streak of the season. The Raiders believe the young passer can do exactly that.
“It feels good that all the preparation and hard work has paid off,” McGloin said. “I’m glad that coaching staff has faith in me and trust in me, and I know the team does as well.”