McGloin must build chemistry quickly with Cooper, Crabtree

McGloin must build chemistry quickly with Cooper, Crabtree

ALAMEDA – Quarterback Matt McGloin needed eight yards to ice a Raiders victory over Indianapolis. Receiver Amari Cooper was out wide to his right, with great playmaking ability at McGloin’s disposal.

Although coverage was heavier than ideal, McGloin wanted to give Cooper a chance. He fired a pass between a cornerback and a safety. Cooper maintained good position and brought the ball in for a first down.

It was a tight throw that paid off and prevented a Colts comeback attempt. It was also a calculated risk considering McGloin and Cooper hadn’t worked together much.

“Amari is first and foremost, a very intelligent player and secondly, obviously his athletic ability just jumps off the charts,” McGloin said. “I haven’t had the opportunity to throw a lot of balls to him the past few years, in practice or in games but you just see on film, you see throughout the course of the week how he runs his routes certain ways. You know he’s going to be in the right spot and in a situation like that, you want to win the game right there, you want to put yourself in position to kneel three times and win. Hey, Amari’s a playmaker and I believe in giving guys a chance to make plays for you when you need it.”

That’s a McGloin trademark, one Andre Holmes should know. He was a starting receiver when McGloin made six starts during the 2013 season.

“He put the ball out for Amari to go make a play,” Holmes said. “That just shows how much confidence he has in him to make a play in a big moment. Those are things he did a lot when he was starting here. Matt understands the abilities his playmakers have and has full confidence they’ll have his back.”

There’s confidence, without much experience.

McGloin hasn’t thrown to Cooper and Michael Crabtree much. They typically work with starter Derek Carr. With Carr likely out the rest of the year, McGloin must quickly build chemistry with top Raiders targets.

They have a week before Sunday’s game at Denver and more time once the postseason begins. That’s a priority for quarterback and receiver corps in the coming days.

“I feel like mentally, my approach has always been (good),” McGloin said. “But, I think, just physically we need to get a little more reps here and there, get our timing down with one another. But, those guys are on board, they’ve been great so far, reaching out to me and coming up to me and just saying, ‘Hey, we’re here. Let’s get some extra reps.’”

Cooper and Crabtree especially have to play catch-up when it comes to timing with McGloin, but there’s enough time to find sync before important games kick off.

“That’s why you practice,” Cooper said. “We’re going to go out there each one and work on getting that chemistry going. … We’re going to try and do all that we can do to get the necessary reps before going out there and playing on Sunday.”

The Raiders can clinch the AFC West by beating Denver before the postseason begins, meaning McGloin’s taking over at a crucial part of the year.

“We’re going to rally behind Matt,” Cooper said. “But, ultimately, everyone has to do their job. We’re going to be fine.”

NFL free agency: Raiders target George Iloka agrees to Cowboys contract


NFL free agency: Raiders target George Iloka agrees to Cowboys contract

The Raiders added one former Bengals defender earlier this week. They were not able to add another.

Safety George Iloka, who reportedly visited the Raiders earlier in the week, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.

The team announced the deal on Saturday.

The Raiders reunited linebacker Vontaze Burfict with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther on Tuesday, and tried to do the same with Iloka, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 28-year-old spent the 2018 season with the Minnesota Vikings.

Missing out on Iloka isn't the worst thing in the world for the Raiders. They addressed the safety position over the last week with the additions of Lamarcus Joyner and Curtis Riley.

NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr


NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr

The Raiders wanted an experienced backup quarterback behind Derek Carr, and got one Friday by signing Mike Glennon.

Now they hope he never plays. It’s still a vital role in meeting rooms and on-the-field, should an emergency arise on game day. Young bucks can get caught in the headlights. Veterans won’t be as good as the starter, but can generally function better being inserted into a game without many practice reps.

He has hopped into action during five seasons and has 22 starts, meaning he can handle short-relief or a stretch as the starter.

That calms some fan's nerves after the Raiders released AJ McCarron, who has already signed with the Houston Texans, leaving Nathan Peterman as the only non-Carr quarterback on the roster.

Glennon steps into the No. 2 slot having completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 5,107 yards and 35 touchdowns with 20 interceptions over five seasons.

Peterman is still with the Raiders on a futures contract, and is the No. 3 guy at the moment.

Many will look at the signing and wonder if it impacts the possibility of drafting a quarterback next month. It’s hard to rule anything out, but the disciplined choice would be to address the pass rush early and often in the 2019 NFL Draft, though a quarterback could get taken later in the selection process.

But…having Glennon on the roster won’t prohibit the Raiders from taking Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins. Would the Raiders eliminate the prospect of taking Quinnen Williams because interior pass rushers P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst were drafted last year? Absolutely not.

A edge rusher is the team’s most pressing need and must be addressed with quality and quantity before the season starts.

The Raiders don’t have to take a quarterback now in the draft, and adding Glennon takes the pressure off the demand to get another one down the line. Glennon should be viewed as a reliable backup who can step into service if Carr isn’t available.