Week 16 turned into a roller coaster of a week for the Oakland Raiders. Although they secured their victory and their 12-3 record, they failed to obtain the AFC West and lost quarterback Derek Carr to broken fibula. The loss of their leader not only shocked the Oakland Coliseum, but it also thrusts Matt McGloin into the spotlight.
He takes over for a playoff bound team, which is currently embarking on a season like nothing seen in the past decade. While many optimists expect Carr to be ready for the Super Bowl, McGloin and the Raiders need to get past three rounds of the playoffs.
The bright spot for McGloin is that he has a week to prepare himself in real time action. Week 17 has the Raiders facing off against the Denver Broncos, as the Mile High Stadium.
Although the Broncos have been eliminated from playoff contention, the Raiders are still competing for the AFC West and the first-round bye. Their divisional opponent will certainly not back down, provided McGloin a tune up for the playoffs.
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, who won the Super Bowl last season alongside Peyton Manning, was asked about the quarterback switch. Kubiak responded by stating that he is impressed with McGloin, expecting the coaching staff to tailor their game plan to his skill set, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com:
“I’m really impressed with the young man,” Kubiak said. “I think every time he’s been given the chance, he’s done a really good job. I think Billy [offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave] has done a super job with him from a coaching standpoint. He’s under center for a great football team and what they’re capable of doing, I know it’s a big opportunity for him, but we respect the football team and the job that [Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and the coaches have done. They have a really good group.”
McGloin will make his first start since 2014, when Carr took over for the team. During the initial frenzy of the Carr injury, McGloin stated that he is prepared to take over and is anxious to get started with this team.
However, the offense will certainly need some adjustments for them to succeed. Behind their dominant offensive line, Latavius Murray expects more of a running game, which should be true.
Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. remembers facing off against McGloin, in 2014 before Carr was awarded the starting job.
When asked about facing off against the Raiders with McGloin under center, Harris Jr. stated that they have experience and are expecting more from the running game:
“We’ve played against him in the past before [Derek] Carr got there, so we have experience playing against him,” Harris Jr. said. “We expect a big run game. We expect them to come out and start pounding us like they did the first time.”
The Raiders and Broncos face off Sunday, at 1:25 P.M. PST, with the game being shown locally on CBS.