Stability and continuity are things the Oakland Raiders desperately need — they’re vital to the success of any organization. Mark Davis knew this when he retained GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen for their third season, despite the fact that they put together two consecutive 4-12 seasons. New coaches, new systems and new schemes would likely only add to the upheaval and turmoil that seem have been a constant in Oakland for the better part of a decade. It’s why Allen and McKenzie are back for another season and it’s why the Raiders should stick with Matt McGloin as their starting quarterback in 2014.
Take a deep, cleansing breath, Raider fans. The moaning and howling over that last statement is nearly deafening. It seems that any mention of McGloin’s name in conjunction with the words “starting quarterback” are met with unbelievable angst. McGloin’s detractors fall all over themselves to point to his 1-5 record and eight interceptions as a starter, heralding it as definitive proof that he shouldn’t be playing football, let alone be leading the Raiders. Despite what some people believe though, stats do often lie. Or at the very least, they don’t tell you the whole story.
The suggestion that McGloin should lead the team is mind-bogglingly controversial to some. Some Raider fans still believe that Terrelle Pryor is getting a raw deal and should be the starter, but let’s look at Pryor by the numbers. His record as a starter is 3-7. Not a whole lot better than 1-5, is it? He also threw 11 interceptions against only seven touchdowns in 2013. Pryor averaged a very pedestrian 180 passing yards per game and lead them to meager 18 points per game. The offense as a whole managed about 320 total yards per game in his 10 starts. In short, he didn’t lead the team on many scoring drives and didn’t move the offense very well.
Now, take a look at what McGloin was able to do in his six starts. The Raiders generated more than 350 yards of total offense per game, scored almost a touchdown better than Pryor’s unit at 24 points per game, and McGloin himself averaged 258 passing yards per game in his six starts. With McGloin under center, the team moved the ball, scored points, and they basically looked more like a real NFL offense than at any other point in 2013.
This isn’t to say that McGloin is without fault or that he is the second coming of Joe Montana. To be sure, he has some weaknesses and some issues. But he also showed that he knows how to stick in the pocket, read his progressions, and make the smart throws. He’s able to get rid of the ball quicker than Pryor, and as a result, took fewer sacks. What doomed McGloin to the 1-5 record in large part was the inability of the defense to make plays when they were needed. The Raiders played several close games and were in a position to win only to have the defense collapse down the stretch. In the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, which McGloin’s critics point to as the worst performance in the history of football despite his miscues in the game, the Raiders were only down by four points (35-31) heading into the fourth quarter. The defense then gave up scoring passes of 71 and six yards and a scoring run of 17 yards to provide the final margin. Against one of the top defenses in the NFL, McGloin led the Raiders on five separate scoring drives, scoring 31 points. And just to add one more layer to how the defense failed McGloin and the Raiders in 2013, behind Pryor, the defense gave up 26 points per game but behind McGloin, they gave up a touchdown more, letting the opposing team tally 33 points per game.
McGloin isn’t perfect and he needs to correct some issues. However, for being thrown into the fire as he was, he acquitted himself well and with a full offseason taking the first team reps, he will only get better. Like it or not, pocket passers still rule the league. Pryor has proven that he cannot be that kind of quarterback. Johnny Manziel isn’t likely to be that kind of quarterback. McGloin is that kind of quarterback. The Raiders should absolutely be looking for stability and continuity for the organization, and given the chance, McGloin can give them exactly what they need.