Saturday’s 33-25 victory over the Indianapolis Colts should have been a celebration of another Raiders victory in what has been the most exciting Oakland season in years. Instead, the team and fans are left pondering the next step as the Raider’s star QB (and possible league MVP) Derek Carr suffered a broken fibula in the fourth quarter which will effectively end his season.. Carr was sacked by Colts outside linebacker Trent Cole early in the fourth quarter with the Raiders up comfortably 33-14. Carr’s ankle twisted as he went down and he immediately knew the seriousness. Oakland Coach Jack DelRio said after the game that “As soon as I got out there, he (Carr) said, ‘I think it’s broke.” Del Rio went on to add that “I think most athletes have a pretty good idea when something’s going on with their body.” Reports say that Carr will have surgery Monday and is out indefinitely. Recovery time for a broken fibula can be anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks and the Super Bowl is six weeks away, but it would take an incredibly optimistic recovery and the Raiders to rally behind backup Matt McGloin.
Carr went on Twitter Saturday evening and thanks the fans and teammates for the support he received after the injury, saying, “Thank you to everyone that has been praying for me! Things happen in life that we don’t always understand, BUT I do KNOW this. I serve a God that loves me and that is the ultimate healer! I am not worried one bit. I will bounce back and be on my feet within no time! Thank you for all of the love that you Raider Nation showed me in that stadium today. I will be back. This is a team sport! So everything WE want is still out there for us! See y’all soon! Good bless and Merry Christmas!”
So now the team and fans will have to rely on QB Matt McGloing, a 4 year pro out of Penn State. The 12-3 Raiders still are in control of the AFC West, but a lot is riding on their game New Years Day in Denver against the Broncos. The 11-4 KC Chiefs are right behind Oakland in the standings and have a chance to steal the AFC West Divisional Title from Oakland. Should Oakland beat Denver, the AFC West crown is theirs and a first round bye. Should Oakland lose and KC win, the title will go to the Chiefs based on the 2 Chief’s wins over the Raiders.. Either way, Oakland & KC are in the playoffs and could possibly meet again before the end of the season..
Just as important, Oakland need to quickly adjust to life without Carr, thier MVP candidate. The Raiders defense has improved greatly down the stretch and faces a stagnant Denver offense that has scored just two touchdowns in their last three and a half games. Even the biggest Matt McGloin optimist knows that the Raiders will have to play complementary football at a higher level than it was with Carr. The defense will need to go from “improved” to “weaponized.” The running game will take a greater share of the load. WR Michael Crabtree needs to cut out those drive-killing drops. McGloin is not a “play it safe” type of backup. He will get his money’s worth with aggressive throws, like he did on two third-and-long conversions late against Indianapolis. Being surrounded by the talent that the Raiders have on offense has could work. First up though is the need to beat Denver on New Years Day. Winning three road games with McGloin at quarterback as a wild card team probably isn’t going to happen. Staying at home for the Divisional Round and possibly beyond is a lot more promising.
So who the heck is Matt McGloin? He was a starting quarterback for Penn State Nittany Lions team from 2010 to 2012. He is the first walk-on quarterback to start at Penn State since scholarships were reinstated in 1949. Prior to his college career, McGloin was a Pennsylvania all-state quarterback while attending West Scranton High School. McGloin was not drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, but signed with Oakland as an undrafted free agent in May of that year. He made the team and began the 2013 season as the 3rd QB behind started Terrelle Pryor and back-up Matt Flynn. After Flynn played horribly against the Washington Redskins in week 4, McGloin was promoted to be Pryor’s back-up. He has been good enough for the Raiders to keep him, and now the teams fate rest in his hands for the last regular season game and through the playoffs. Although he has only thrown 45 times in his NFL career, his confidence is apparent. He told reporters after Saturday’s game against the Colts that, “I’m ready to go, I feel great, and it has been great working with Derek Carr the past few years and working together and seeing what he has done on the field trying to learn from that. I’m ready to go.” Matt went on to add “I always prepare as if I am a starter, and now I am going to continue and do the same thing,” McGloin said. “Keep my regimen the same, stay focused, stay ready and try to play to the best of my ability.”
Teammates who’ve watched McGloin in practice say he’s up to the task. Raider WR Amari Cooper told ESPN “He’s a great quarterback, I really like him. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do. I’m excited to see how he prepares. Just excited to go out there and be able to work whatever to help him come back and play in games.” Cooper went on the add that “the biggest thing about him that sticks out is just that he is a competitor.”
Well, RaiderNation, I guess we will just have to wait and see. The teams hopes and dreams for the 2016 season is in McGloins hands now. Let wish him the best of luck and see what he can do to continue to make this the most exciting Raider season since 2002.. Stay tuned to WWW.RAIDERSGAB.COM for more news on the Oakland Raiders !!