Just days into Raiders training camp it seems apparent that the No. 2 quarterback job isn’t going to automatically go to Christian Ponder.
It looks like holdover Matt McGloin will still get a chance to compete for the job.
When Ponder, the former Vikings starter, was acquired this offseason, it seemed almost a lock that he would be Derek Carr’s primary backup. All the signs pointed to it. He was being reunited with his former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, now in the same position in Oakland, plus he’s young (27), a former first-round pick (No. 12 in 2011) and has 36 starts in the NFL.
Ponder even stepped in to run the Raiders offense during spring drills when Carr was sidelined with a minor finger injury. But even then, he told the media that he was comfortable with his role backing up Carr.
“I know that this is Derek’s team right now,” said Ponder. “But I am bringing a competitive nature to it. I know Derek is a very competitive guy, and so is Matt McGloin. Bringing some competition in the room only helps all of us.”
Now that training camp has begun in Napa, that competitiveness is being tested. McGloin is getting some snaps with the second-team offense over Ponder.
Tweeted Vic Tafur, who covers the Raiders for the San Francisco Chronicle: “McGloin pushing Ponder for backup job already, getting some second-team snaps.”
Of course, new head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters after Monday’s practice not to read too much into where Ponder and McGloin are positioned this early in camp.
Yet it’s a good sign for McGloin, who has a history of exceeding expectations and beating out more-acclaimed players, both at Penn State (where he was a walk-on) and in Oakland (where he was an undrafted free agent).
McGloin, 25, doesn’t have as many starts in the NFL as Ponder and has a 1-5 record as a starting QB, but his 74.5 quarterback rating is just a shade behind Ponder’s 75.9. Plus, he’s shown he can throw the deep ball and his yards per attempt of 7.3 is higher than Ponder’s 6.3.
Despite Ponder’s connection and history with Musgrave, it now appears McGloin will get a chance to win the No. 2 job.