Five Raiders who can help McGloin flourish
Putting McGloin in position to succeed
The Raiders got worse when quarterback Derek Carr fractured his fibula. They are still a good football team without their MVP candidate; exactly how good remains a mystery until we see Matt McGloin under center.
The backup quarterback takes over in Sunday’s regular season finale at Denver. The Raiders win the AFC West and clinch a first-round bye with a victory or a Kansas City loss. McGloin has the ability to make tough throws and move the ball downfield, but he isn’t on Carr’s level. He clearly needs superstars to win games.
Here are five Raiders who can help McGloin flourish as the team's starting quarterback...
5) RB/Return man Jalen Richard
McGloin could certainly use some help from the kicking game. Shorter fields make scoring easier. Defense is an important part of that aim, though Richard can make a significant impact on where McGloin takes possession.
Richard is a dynamic return man capable of big plays. The undrafted rookie will also help on offense, where he has been a shifty runner capable of taking rushing yards in chunks.
4) TE Mychal Rivera
McGloin knows Rivera well. The tight end is one of a few skill players featured in 2013, when McGloin made six starts. He has also spent much of training camp and regular-season working with McGloin’s second unit.
The new QB is working hard to build chemistry with top targets this week, but Rivera is comfort food. He trusts the typically sure-handed Rivera, who could be a safety net in the middle of the field. He’ll need that when times get tough.
3) WR Michael Crabtree
Crabtree could certainly be considered a star, though Amari Cooper is the top receiving option making plays downfield. While Crabtree has had drop issues this year – a bum finger has something to do with that – his reputation as an easy, reliable receiver precedes him.
Crabtree can’t make mistakes, and must be a steady hand in the passing game. He has a huge catch radius, and must turn less-than-perfect throws into solid gains. McGloin needs Crabtree to perform well in an pinch and in the red zone, where touchdowns will be at a premium.
2) C Rodney Hudson
The veteran center spends significant time preparing for each game. Hudson had Carr would meet early in the week and be integral parts of the game plan at its inception.
McGloin is a smart player, but will rely on Hudson in game prep and at the line of scrimmage to make the right calls. Hudson offers a check to his reads, and helps keep the backup quarterback on track. He also helps coordinate protection, which must be solid for a quarterback that may not go through progressions quite as fast as Carr and needs time to throw.
1) OC Bill Musgrave
Raiders coaches have said starting McGloin will require only minor tweaks to the game plan, and that the backup can run anything Carr could’ve called. Musgrave must help put McGloin is position to succeed, especially early with a solid rushing attack and high-percentage passes that can establish a rhythm.
Musgrave won’t put McGloin in a situation he can’t handle, and has smart route concepts designed to get specific players open or in favorable matchups. McGloin is smart enough to find those options, even against confusing defenses. A good play caller could keep this Raiders offense moving well enough to win games, and Musgrave always tailors scheme to fit strengths. Expect that with McGloin under center.