Raiders Rudderless at Quarterback
By Bess Shapiro
The Oakland Raiders took the worst drubbing they’ve taken all season, getting blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs, 56-31, on Sunday. It’s the most a team has ever scored against the Raiders. Once again the defense couldn’t stop the Chiefs, in particular Jamaal Charles, who scored five touchdowns. But most telling is that 31 of Kansas City’s points came off turnovers.
Raiders rookie quarterback Matt McGloin has many positive traits, such as his ability to operate in the pocket and get rid of the ball fast, but he is no Aaron Rodgers. After the win over the Houston Texans, McGloin looked like someone who could lead the Raiders, if not to a winning record, but a better record than last year’s 4-12 mark. His passing rating was improving every game as other players dropped balls, committed costly penalties and blew coverage. It was difficult to blame McGloin.
The game against the Chiefs proved that McGloin is not ready for prime time, and right now it’s unknown if he ever will be. Trying to force balls to his receivers, he threw four interceptions, seemingly unaware that that the defenders had undercut the passes. When center Steve Wisniewski botched a snap, rather than just fall on it, McGloin tried to make a play. He likely would have been hit in the backfield anyway. The Chiefs recovered the fumble.
As ESPN analyst Matt Millen was quoted as saying about McGloin after his first start: “Sometimes he’s not as good as he thinks he is.”
Based on his press conferences, McGloin doesn’t appear to have an oversized ego. He certainly has confidence in his abilities, which is a good trait in a quarterback. He would like to be the one to lead the team to victory, but the plain truth now is that he can’t. The Raiders brought in Terrelle Pryor for a few snaps, but the Chiefs had his number. He also threw an interception. Pryor hasn’t taken many reps or played a complete game since McGloin took over. He was rusty, too.
The Raiders didn’t bother to shop for a quarterback earlier in the season when Pryor got injured, confident that McGloin was their man. McGloin certainly has talent, but everyone seemed to get caught up in the former Penn State walk-on saving the season mythology. It was too much too soon.
In the offseason, the Raiders need to look for a free agent quarterback with a lot of snaps and some wins, preferably from a winning team. Jay Cutler comes to mind, if the Bears don’t slap a franchise tag on him. It could even be a backup -- say a Josh McCown. That means the Raiders will have to pay good money to a quarterback, enough that he will play for a team that hasn’t had a winning season in more than 10 years. There are two regular-season games left, and the Raiders could still go out with a bang, but long-term success depends on a successful, experienced passer.