In each of the Raiders first 2 preseason games, third string QB Matt McGloin has led 4th quarter comebacks. Against the Vikings, he fell just short when his Hail Mary pass fell to the ground. Against the Lions, he was successful when his 19 yard TD pass was caught by WR Brice Butler. Of course, anytime your team gets a game winning drive from a back-up QB, it is a good thing. We will look at the reasons why he had to do that, more than whether it was actually good or bad.
The Raiders fell behind the Vikings and Lions mainly because of the inability of the first team offense and defense to play well enough. This is a huge concern. The fact that McGloin had to come in and salvage the game does not bode well for the Raiders. Granted, it is only preseason and the fact that he accomplished this against third stringers and camp fodder won’t raise a lot of skirts.
On the positive side of things, it is comforting to know that there is a back-up QB on this roster who is capable of stepping in and taking over. McGloin knows the offensive system and has proven that he can operate it effectively. Winning the game against the Lions gave hope and provided a much needed uplift to the fans.
It also gave the coaches something to evaluate. Competition is good for all of the players and the problem of deciding which quality players to cut and which to keep is a good one to have. McGloin is better than most teams have for a back-up. He is also just as good, if not better than a few starters and that means his trade value is high if the Raiders need to move him. It went up with those performances. The Raiders could potentially trade McGloin to fill some needs.
On the negative side: There is absolutely nothing bad about McGloin’s comebacks in the 4th quarter (other than the one against the Vikings coming up short). The fact that he even had to lead late game rallies in 2 consecutive weeks speaks largely of how the Raiders first team starters are playing. This is particularly the case with defense. The veterans who were brought in need to step up their game. In both games, they were unable to stop the opposing offense from marching down the field and putting up points early. Getting behind early is a bad thing and it is something that is difficult to overcome on a weekly basis over the season.
To compound the problem, the first team offense has looked very anemic. This puts the defense in a bad spot, particularly when they turn the ball over. Whether it’s a bad throw or a tipped ball, interceptions kill momentum and give it to the opposing defense. That makes it even harder to stage a comeback, especially when it puts the Raiders down by 2 or more scores. Some of the greatest games in Raiders history were won via late game rallies to come from behind, but it is not something the Raiders should get accustomed to doing with this roster. They need to be at their best and avoid falling behind late in the game.
The game against the Packers is the third preseason game and there needs to be much improved play from the starters on both sides of the ball. However, if that does not happen, it is nice to know that the Raiders have McGloin to potentially pull the game out in the last 2 minutes. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have to.