Allen: McGloin to start over Pryor for Raiders Sunday

Allen: McGloin to start Sunday vs. Titans

Allen: McGloin to start over Pryor for Raiders Sunday
November 20, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Matt McGloin threw for 197 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in his first NFL start, a win. (USATSI)

ALAMEDA – What was expected is now known. Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin will start on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.

Head coach Dennis Allen made a formal announcement after Wednesday’s practice, confirming that the undrafted rookie earned another start after leading the Raiders to victory Sunday over the Houston Texans.

Keyword: earned.

McGloin’s start wasn’t given because Terrelle Pryor was hurt. Pryor is nursing a Grade 2 sprain of his right MCL, but he practiced Wednesday in a limited role and could be available in a backup role.

This was about a player who demanded consideration by helping the Raiders score a season-high 28 points with 197 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions of his own. He earned the start with numbers and excellent game management.

If McGloin plays like he did last week, the quarterback change will become permanent.

“This is a production business,” Allen said. “One of the things we’ve tried to create here is an atmosphere of competition. If you go out and you perform and you make plays, you get opportunities to continue to go out and perform and make plays. Matt did that last week. He’s going to get another opportunity this week. We’ll see how it goes.”

Although Allen didn’t communicate his decision explicitly, McGloin expected to start. He felt he earned another shot based on merit, and wasn’t surprised when he got one.

“I think coach is doing the right thing sticking with what we had and seeing what happens,” McGloin said. “…As long as I play well I’d hope I get more and more opportunities to start. But the main thing being there is playing well. We know what it takes. Last week obviously we did a great job. Hopefully we can continue that.”

The Raiders need steady offensive production to stay in the playoff hunt. No team has laid claim to the No. 6 seed thus far, and the 4-6 Raiders are hanging on the outskirts of the playoff picture.

The offense went cold in weeks prior to McGloin’s first NFL start, when Pryor struggling to generate yards and points. When a bum MCL put Pryor on the shelf – probably a week too late – against Houston, McGloin was able to right the ship against the NFL’s top pass defense.

Pryor isn’t 100 percent, but Allen said the athletic, mobile quarterback could be an accent piece against the Titans if he’s cleared to play. That was the plan out of training camp, when Pryor was behind Matt Flynn on the depth chart. The Raiders hoped to use Pryor’s ability without relying on it, as they had early this season.

Pryor’s ailing joint remains sore, and hinders his style of play. It might have taken an opportunity to be the Raiders starting quarterback as well.

“That can be frustrating … but that’s just the way the game works,” Pryor said. “You just got to take it for what it is and just keep pushing forward. That’s all I can do is, push forward, help the defense out and help Matt out. That’s all I can do is be the best teammate I can be.”