ALAMEDA – Raiders quarter Matt McGloin certainly has a chip on his shoulder, after years of being told he wasn't quite good enough.
He took a well-mapped hard road to an NFL career, as a walk-on turned three-year starter at Penn State. Despite great production with the Nittany Lions, McGloin wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. He wasn't drafted and only latched on with the Raiders as a tryout player.
He beat fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson and high-priced veteran Matt Flynn as a rookie, and ended up starting six games that year. He has outlasted a string of backup challenges, from Matt Schaub to Christian Ponder. He remains higher on the depth chart than fourth-round rookie Connor Cook, and has been thrust into the spotlight after Derek Carr broke his fibula in last week's win over Indianapolis.
McGloin may find motivation in slights, but he doesn't play angry.
"I don't necessarily think I play that way," McGloin said. "I mean, I really enjoy playing the game. I really enjoy competition, I enjoy being out there with the guys and playing the game and doing well and winning."
McGloin doesn't care much what outsiders think, but he certainly wants people to know he can play at this level. He is supremely confident in his ability to produce, and want to show that during this run of starts.
It starts with a chance to win the AFC West on Sunday at Denver and continues with a playoff game either at Houston next week or a home game in the divisional round. McGloin doesn't feel pressure. This is an exciting time.
"You know, this is the position you want to be in," McGloin said. "This is why you spend so much time trying to master your craft and why you put so much time in the weight room, in the film room and on the practice field, is for games like this, moments like this. So, we're definitely aware of where we're at right now and again, what's at stake come Sunday and we're excited about it."
McGloin is a topic of national conversation in the aftermath of Carr's injury, and there will certainly be polarizing opinions about whether he can perform on this stage.
McGloin tunes out the negativity well, even going so far as to block media types and fans on Twitter.
"I don't sit there on my phone and do that, but to be honest with you guys, if I'm reading an article and I come across somebody, a sarcastic tweet or an article bashing the Oakland Raiders organization or bashing the guys in the locker room, I don't want to read that stuff," McGloin said. "So, that's what gets people blocked on Twitter. (laughter) It's nothing personal, you know? I don't want to read bad or negative things about this organization or the guys in that locker room. That's all."