DENVER – The Raiders have a new starting quarterback, news only to those coming out of hibernation. Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula in last week's win over Indianapolis and Matt McGloin will take over.
We know that Carr's surgery went well, that there is no ligament damage and that it's virtually certain he's done for the season. Oh, and he's not a fan of paparazzi. We know that Matt McGloin likes proving people wrong, never lacks confidence and has held block parties on social media.
Now on to the next phase, where the Raiders actually carry on with a new signal caller. That starts during Sunday's regular-season finale. The Raiders can clinch the AFC West and a first-round bye, invaluable time when trying to get McGloin ready for the playoffs.
He's a wild card at this stage, with a handful of passes since 2013. He's a different player with an upgraded supporting cast. Raiders fans and playoff teams alike are interested to see what he shows on tape.
Opponents won't see an abridged playbook. The Raiders believe McGloin can run offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's system well, with all the line checks and pre-snap adjustments that go with it.
"We demand that all of our quarterbacks be able to run the system as if they were the starter," Raiders quarterbacks coach Todd Downing said on The Raiders Insider Podcast. "We don't anticipate changing that or making things any less complex for Matt. We don't have to water down the offense for him. It's plug and play as far as we're concerned."
Quarterback and center Rodney Hudson have veto power over a protection or play call. Carr used that freedom well. McGloin will have flexibility available as well.
Having McGloin shoulder Carr's responsibility makes it easier than changed concepts and assignments for the rest of the offense. The goal is to stay in sync with a new quarterback. Continuity will be key in that regard.
"I think we're going to stay pretty much with our stuff and the other 10 guys will be used to those concepts, too," Musgrave said. "Very similar. We may have a minor tweak, quarter turn here and there, but very similar to what we've been doing these previous 15 weeks."
McGloin will have some help up front. Hudson is one of the NFL's best centers, a cerebral sort who spends significant time analyzes opposing defenses. He is essential to making protection calls, and his accuracy in that regard takes some pressure off the new guy.
"Rodney's a great player, fun guy to be around," McGloin said. "He's really smart, really bright. So, it definitely takes a little weight off my shoulders there knowing you got a guy like Rodney out there to really help you with protections and play calls, things like that."
Scheme and pre-snap decisions can create opportunities, but McGloin must make them work. That will require accurate, often daring throws in key spots. As you'd guess, McGloin isn't afraid of those moments. He has arm strength to spare, and throws a heater gets to receivers quick.
"He has arm talent to make any throw in the pass catalog," Downing said. "That's not something we feel is an inhibiting factor at all. We're actually quite impressed with him in that regard. He also has great field vision. He can get through progressions quickly and can diagnose defenses well. He's a bit more mobile than people give him credit for. We're excited to see him put those attributes on display. Fans will be impressed with his ability to attack all parts of the field."