ALAMEDA – The Raiders haven’t announced their starting quarterback for Saturday’s AFC playoff game at Houston. Head coach Jack Del Rio said that health will have a significant impact on that decision.
Matt McGloin’s injured neck and shoulder might not be ready for game action, the NFL Network reported on Tuesday morning, and the Raiders are starting game prep with the expectation rookie Connor Cook will make his first NFL start.
The Raiders would prefer McGloin’s experience in this spot – he has seven starts to his credit -- and haven’t ruled out the prospect that he could rebound well.
Cook, a fourth-round rookie from Michigan State, came out of Sunday’s 24-6 loss at Denver healthy and in the best position take early practice reps.
That will be important for passers who didn’t get many before unquestioned starter Derek Carr broke his fibula in Week 16 against Indianapolis.
Cook was 14-of-21 passing for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled twice in nine series and lost one. Cook hasn’t received many practice reps all season, meaning he was calling and running plays against Denver he hadn’t practiced before.
“I thought Connor was pretty solid. I thought he handled himself pretty well,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “You know, ball security is so huge that we had a couple of ball security issues. That (Broncos) defense is pretty good. I thought overall that he did a pretty solid job for a tough set of circumstances for him. I thought he handled himself well, given the circumstances.”
Del Rio could go the entire week without announcing a starting quarter, or do so when he meets with the media again on Wednesday. The timing could be important, especially for a new quarterback like Cook.
“There are two ways of looking at it, so I think obviously the weight of, ‘Oh my gosh, this is your first start and it’s going to be a playoff game,’ that’s a big one to bite off,” Del Rio said. “So, whether that is the case or whether he comes in in a backup role, we’ll see. But, we’re going to work through the week the best we can, see what we have health-wise with our team and then make that determination.”