Using both Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor at quarterback might have been part of the Oakland Raiders game plan going in, but it was also indicative of the situation the franchise is in at the most important position on the team.
Coach Dennis Allen told reporters after the 37-27 loss to the New York Jets in Week 14 that rotating the quarterbacks in the first half was not a knee-jerk reaction and that it had been in the works all week. Whatever it was, it didn’t work out as well as the Raiders had hoped.
Not that it should be that surprising.
Oakland’s quarterback situation has been shaky all season, and despite a few bright moments here and there, it hasn’t gotten markedly better.
Pryor, who started eight games before spraining his right knee, came in for one series and drove the offense down for a field goal. He completed two of five throws for a modest 20 yards and scrambled a few times.
During one of his incompletions, Pryor showed good patience and scanned the field before throwing. That was something he had failed to do with any consistency during previous games when he was jittery and skittish in the pocket.
McGloin, who appeared slightly shaken up by the move, took a little while to bounce back and threw a pair of touchdowns to help Oakland make a slight push in the second half. Still, it was hardly the type of performance that should guarantee the rookie of a starting job in 2014.
The former Penn State starter, in fact, looked extremely average at times while playing about two hours away from where he grew up. McGloin fumbled twice and threw a costly interception near his own goal line that led to a New York field goal.
His overall numbers were 18 of 31 for 245 yards. It marked the first time McGloin had thrown multiple touchdown passes since his first career start Nov. 17 against the Houston Texans.
The game was also McGloin’s third straight with an interception. Pryor had eight over a four-game stretch before getting replaced by the undrafted rookie.
Neither quarterback has shown the ability to lead the offense on a consistent basis, which is one of the reasons Allen talked about the importance of seeing both play down the stretch.
Using Pryor for one series, however, seemed foolish for several reasons.
McGloin, who had invited nearly 250 family and friends to the game, couldn’t have felt too good about getting yanked after the first two series. He appeared rattled when he came back in and threw an interception on his first throw.
McGloin’s touchdown throw to Rod Streater was fortunate because a pair of Jets defenders collided, allowing the wide receiver to score easily. The pass also appeared to be an overthrow to tight end Jeron Mastrud that Streater managed to snag.
If Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson were so bent on seeing Pryor at quarterback again, they should have either started him or let him play the entire second half. Rotating him in and out for one series made no sense, unless it was to offer a balance to the lack of running game at the time.
At this point, there’s no telling what the Raiders will do with their quarterback situation the rest of the way. That’s par for the course, because it looks as if they don’t have much of an idea either.
All quotes and paraphrased statements obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.