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Report: Raiders to release Ponder, go with McGloin as backup

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It appears the Raiders are going with Matt McGloin as Derek Carr’s backup.

ESPN reported Friday that Oakland is expected release Christian Ponder, who will still receive $1.5 million from his signing bonus.

Ponder signed as a free agent in March with the expectation that he’d back up Carr. A former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, he was reunited with Bill Musgrave, the Raiders’ new offensive coordinator who held that post for Ponder’s first three years in the NFL in Minnesota.

Ponder wasn’t bad this preseason. He completed nearly 63 percent of his passes (22 of 35) for 245 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked five times — three other Raiders quarterbacks combined for just two. But this move simply came down to McGloin outplaying him.

McGloin, a third-year undrafted player out of Penn State, completed 73.7 percent of his preseason passes for a team-high 424 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. His most extensive time came Thursday at Seattle and, although he played against only backups, he excelled again to the tune of 16 of 24 for 186 yards and two scores.

“Every day I focus on showing up, working hard in the film room, working hard in the weight room and doing my best on the practice field to be ready if they want me to play,” McGloin said after Thursday’s game.

By releasing Ponder, the Raiders are going with just two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. That’s not surprising considering their depth issues that necessitate keeping players at other spots.

Oakland will probably look to add a quarterback to the practice squad. Cody Fajardo, an undrafted rookie from Nevada who was released Tuesday, passed through waivers and would be an obvious pick to bring back into the fold.

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Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.