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Raiders entrusted to undrafted rookie QB Matt McGloin

Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin passes the ball

Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin passes the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas. (Nov. 28, 2013) Credit: AP

ALAMEDA, Calif. - Whether Matt McGloin, undrafted but now hardly unwanted, is the Oakland Raiders' quarterback of the future isn't the issue at the moment. He's the quarterback of the present, the one who will face the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The one whom coach Dennis Allen keeps giving vocal support, even as Allen occasionally refers to Terrelle Pryor, who was the Oakland starter for eight of the first nine games this season.

Matt Flynn, now back with the Green Bay Packers, was the Raiders' starter for one game in late September.

In the 2011 supplementary draft, Pryor was the last person the late Al Davis ever selected, a runner getting familiar with the pass. McGloin wasn't selected by anyone, even though as a fifth-year senior in 2012, he set a single-season passing record for Penn State.

McGloin is inured to such oversight. Although all-state at West Scranton High, the only way he could be a Nittany Lion was as a walk-on, and thus was the first of that category to be a starting quarterback for the school since scholarships were reinstated in 1949.

The problem for McGloin, Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson suggests, is that at 6-1, he doesn't fit the dimensions of an ideal NFL quarterback. Against the Titans in his second start, McGloin had four passes knocked down by linemen or linebackers. Olson, however, said that was because of improper alignments, not McGloin's height.

McGloin is tough, physically and mentally, which is understood for someone who was a distant fourth string in training camp and now is in charge.

In his first start, a 28-23 win at Houston on Nov. 17, McGloin became the first undrafted rookie with three touchdown passes and no interceptions in an NFL game since 1967. And even after losses against Tennessee, on the last play, and at Dallas, second-year coach Allen said, "I don't think Matt has done anything to play himself out of that position."

Tennessee coach Mike Munchak also is from Scranton (although rival Scranton Central High) and Penn State. "He's such a great example of a guy who handles himself so well," Munchak said of McGloin after the game in Oakland, "and continues to do things that nobody expected."

McGloin's parents and numerous friends will be at MetLife Stadium as the Raiders try to end a 12-game losing streak in the Eastern time zone.

Asked how the Raiders don't allow the defeats to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, McGloin said: "We win Sunday. That's how you do that. But no, it's not a statistic we're proud of.

"Any time you're traveling across the country to play, it will be difficult. But for me, it's exciting to go back east and play in the cold . . . I'm used to playing in cold weather, so that won't be too much of an adjustment."

The Raiders had a 21-7 lead over the Cowboys before losing, 31-24. McGloin was 5-for-5 on an early scoring drive (18-for-30 for 255 yards overall), but in the second half, he threw an end-zone interception and fumbled a snap from former Penn State teammate Stefen Wisniewski.

"Any time you watch film," he said about the game, "you pick up on things that you can't believe happened. The fumbled snap, I've been snapping with the guy since college. Of course, the interception was another bad mistake by me. But at the same time, you learn, you gain experience and you keep improving."

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