Some things -- and people -- should never be doubted. One is Matt McGloin.
As the Oakland Raiders prepare for their opening game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, McGloin again is in the quarterbacks room, watching video and breaking down the defense. He enters the season as the Raiders’ only backup quarterback to Derek Carr.
At Penn State, McGloin was a walk-on who rose to be the Nittany Lions’ starting quarterback. After not being drafted, he was signed by the Raiders in 2013 and eventually became the starter as a rookie.
He’s outlasted Matt Schaub and Terrelle Pryor and, this summer, Christian Ponder.
Ponder, a former first-round draft pick of the Vikings, came to Oakland this offseason and seemed a shoo-in to be the team’s No. 2 to Carr. Ponder even had a prior relationship with new Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave from Minnesota.
Yet, once again, McGloin outperformed his competition.
With his job on the line, McGloin was terrific in practices and exhibition games, completed 73.7 percent of his 57 passes for 424 yards, four touchdowns and one interception for a QB rating of 110.6. Ponder, meanwhile, was 22-of-35 (62.9 percent) for 245 yards, one TD and one pick and an 81.2 QB rating.
When it came time to choose, McGloin was the man, even though the Raiders had given Ponder a $1.5 million signing bonus.
After his final exhibition game in which he had thrown two TD passes against Seattle, McGloin said he was just focused on grinding every single practice, game and study session.
“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,” he told reporters.
It’s an attitude that fullback and team captain Marcel Reece admires. He’s called McGloin “a gamer.”
Carr, too, is a big fan of his fellow QB.
“Matt is one of my favorite people, not just football players, just one of my favorite people to be around,” Carr told Bill Williamson of ESPN.com. “He has the same mentality that I do. We are going to work for every single thing that is going to be out there for us.”
The Raiders are hoping for big things from Carr this season in his second year. Ideally, they would hope McGloin never plays a snap – unless it’s in a blowout Raiders victory. But if Carr does go down, they know what they have in McGloin: a battler with a strong arm, an ability to make plays and the grit to come up a winner even when the odds are stacked against him.
Said Carr, to Williamson: “We’ve been together for over a year and we know how to communicate, we know how to talk to each other. We’re both here early watching film together. We’ve got a good thing going with us.”