By Steve Corkran
Monday, November 18th, 2013 at 4:14 pm in Oakland Raiders.
ALAMEDA – Matt McGloin’s eye-opening performance in his first NFL start earned him a game ball, nationwide exposure and props from his teammates and coaches.
However, Raiders coach Dennis Allen said he still hasn’t decided whether McGloin’s sterling starting debut against the Houston Texans on Sunday earned him the start against the Tennessee Titans this coming Sunday.
“I will say that, obviously, with Matt’s performance he’s certainly earned the right to be in the discussion, that’s for sure,” Allen said Monday during his weekly day-after-game news conference.
McGloin completed 18 of 32 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns in the Raiders 28-23 victory over the Texans.
In the process, he became the first undrafted rookie in a non-strike season with three or more touchdown passes in his first NFL start since the Dolphins’ John Stofa accomplished the feat in 1966.
Also, McGloin joined former Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich as the only other rookie — drafted or not — since the league merger in 1970 with three or more touchdowns and no interceptions in his first NFL start.
McGloin started against the Texans because regular starter Terrelle Pryor remains bothered by a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Allen said he intends to speak with Pryor to gauge Pryor’s health before proceeding.
“Then I’ll have all the information I need to make the decision on who will start this Sunday,” Allen said.
Allen gave his players the day off Monday, so Pryor and McGloin weren’t available for comment.
Pryor started eight of Oakland’s first nine games – Matt Flynn started one – and seemed to cement his status as the unquestioned starter the rest of the season.
However, his play tailed off in recent games, in part because of the injury he suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 3.
The Raiders signed McGloin as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State this offseason. At the time, he was fourth on the depth chart, behind Flynn, Pryor and fourth-round draft pick Tyler Wilson.
Allen said he always is cognizant of what his players think and how they feel. Just the same, he’s going to base his decision on who plays quarterback on one thing: What gives the Raiders the best chance to win that game.
“They don’t always agree with the decisions I make,” Allen said, “ … You’ve seen where guys have rallied behind Terrelle Pryor as the starting quarterback, and played well with him in there. Then, (Sunday), you saw how our guys responded with Matt McGloin in there. I really don’t see that as being an issue.”
– After weeks of talking about it, the Raiders finally followed through on making fullback Marcel Reece a more focal point of the offense.
Reece averaged three touches the first nine games, but he received double the normal workload Sunday.
He rushed four times for 6 yards and caught two passes for 17 yards. He also had three other passes thrown his way.
Lo and behold, it was Reece who turned in one of the plays of the game for the Raiders.
He broke free on a seam route on a third-and-nine play, hauled in the pass from McGloin and turned it into a 20-yard gain. The Raiders scored a go-ahead touchdown on the next play.
– Wide receivers Andre Holmes (shoulder) and Denarius Moore (shoulder), right guard Mike Brisiel (knee) and defensive linemen Jason Hunter (foot) and Daniel Muir (knee) underwent MRI exams Monday, Allen said.
Brisiel’s MRI returned negative. The results of the four other exams aren’t known yet, Allen said.
– Running back Darren McFadden’s status in his rehab from a hamstring injury remains uncertain, Allen said. He is scheduled to work out Tuesday so that the Raiders can gauge his progress.
Regardless, Rashad Jennings still is going to get plenty of action once McFadden returns from an injury that sidelined him for most of the past three games.
“He’s earned the right to carry the ball,” Allen said. “Whether he starts or doesn’t start, I don’t think that’s really much of a factor. He’s going to get his touches.”
Jennings rushed for 150 yards against the Texans and 340 yards the past three games. By comparison, McFadden has 352 yards on the season.