With the playoffs looming and a playoff birth already clinched, the Oakland Raiders were more concerned about defeating their opponents and getting the best seeding possible. During their Week 16 matchup, the team was attempting to clinch the division when their leader, Derek Carr, went down with a broken fibula.
After successful surgery, Carr is now projected to be out until the Super Bowl, if the Raiders can make it there. Before they embark for the playoffs, Matt McGloin and the Raiders have one meaningful tune-up game.
Week 17 has them facing the Denver Broncos, at the Mile High Stadium. Although the Broncos have been eliminated from playoff contention, the Raiders are still battling the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West title.
A win against the Broncos would earn them that hard fought division title, while also placing them alongside the New England Patriots with first-round byes. Although the injury to Carr was a tough pill to swallow, Jack Del Rio has the group responding and ready to move forward.
When talking about the unfortunate injury, Del Rio stated that this entire roster has rallied around each other, in order to put the best result moving forward, via Raiders.com:
“We’re going to do what we always do,” Del Rio said. “I think there’s a natural feeling of stepping up and rallying around whoever is playing at whatever position it is. I feel the same about it being the quarterback. I think it’s about us as a team going out and competing against the other team.”
During this event filled 2016 season, Del Rio has consistently talked about keeping a business-like mentality, where they never fear anyone, but rather respect their opponent.
Through proper preparation and hard work, the Raiders have stayed organized and ready for any challenge. However, the loss of their vocal leader will surely be the toughest one to overcome.
McGloin now takes the reigns, as the quarterback who can guide the Raiders back to their first Super Bowl since 2002. His Week 17 battle against the Broncos does have major significance, but also gives him a chance to work through the kinks in a non-elimination contest.
Now as the starter, McGloin needs to work on perfecting his throws, his unity with his receivers and his preparation for any scheme. Del Rio and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave have pondered altering the playbook to better fit McGloin.
Center Rodney Hudson, who was voted to the Pro Bowl, had this to say about the loss of Carr and replacement in McGloin:
“I think nobody wants to lose their starting quarterback, so obviously it was an adjustment for that moment, but we’ve just got to focus in and push forward.”
Certainly for Hudson, these past few weeks have required altercations. Hudson and Carr began the season under center and on the same page, until Carr dislocated his pinky finger.
Since that injury, Hudson was forced to go to a shotgun formation snap, as Carr couldn’t risk reinjuring the finger. However, now with McGloin as his quarterback, Hudson will have to build rapport and timing with the new quarterback.
The Raiders face off against the Broncos on Sunday, at 1:25 P.M. PST. The game will be aired locally on CBS, as the Raiders attempt to clinch the AFC West and the elusive first-round bye.