NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Not a lot has changed in the year since Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
He’s still buried on Oakland’s depth chart, still spending most of his time in practice waiting for the occasional rep or two with the offense.
The only difference might be in McGloin’s expectations.
“Coming in here last year, I wouldn’t get any reps actually,” McGloin said. “To now get a few here and there is a lot better. In terms of being prepared mentally, it kind of makes you feel more comfortable day in and day out.”
After starting six games during his rookie season and drawing high praise from coach Dennis Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson, the former Penn State walk-on didn’t flinch when Oakland made a pair of offseason moves for quarterbacks and immediately penciled them in ahead of McGloin.
He embraced the arrivals of Matt Schaub and Derek Carr as positives for a team struggling to end an 11-year playoff drought. Still, he wants another crack at the starting job.
McGloin had an up-and-down day Sunday when the Raiders held their first practice in full pads but he finished strong with a pair of nice throws late in the afternoon workout.
In between, he stood behind the offense and patiently watched as Schaub ran the first-team offense while Carr worked with the second unit.
“My mentality has always been it is what it is,” McGloin said. “There’s two ways you can go: You can either be the guy who shows up every day and doesn’t want to be there and complains and pouts, or you can be the guy who says I’m going to make the most out of my reps, I’m going to do whatever I can and I’m going to continue to fight and scratch and claw and compete every day.”
A year ago McGloin would have been happy just to have a member of the coaching staff remember his name. The Raiders invited him to camp to give the other three quarterbacks ahead of him at the time a break.
It quickly became clear he could do much more than that.
By the time camp ended McGloin had outplayed Tyler Wilson, making the fourth-round draft pick expendable. When veteran Matt Flynn was released in October and Terrelle Pryor suffered a knee injury four weeks later, McGloin got the nod.
He passed for three touchdowns in a 28-23 win over Houston, raising hopes that Oakland might have accidentally stumbled upon their franchise quarterback.
Instead, what followed were five consecutive losses in which McGloin and the offense regressed. He sat out the season-finale against Denver when Allen opted to go with Pryor.
“There’s good things you take away from it, and also a lot of bad things happened,” said McGloin, who passed for 1,547 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. “I’m always searching for something better. That’s what gets me up and gets me going every day.”
Allen, who at times last season seemed to gush over McGloin, says the second-year quarterback remains a part of Oakland’s plans.
“I love our quarterback room … all the way from one to four on the depth chart,” Allen said. “We feel very confident that if we needed to call on Matt to go in and perform and win a game for us, that he could go in and perform at a high level.”
For now, McGloin will continue to try to soak up whatever knowledge he can from the two quarterbacks ahead of him.
“I’m glad it’s a guy like Matt Schaub, who I can learn from every day, and a guy like Derek Carr who I can compete with every day,” McGloin said. “It’s a good opportunity for me. I’m learning a lot and I’m a lot further ahead than I was last year.”
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