By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
OAKLAND — Matt McGloin will have a chance to add a second win to his career total when he (not Terrelle Pryor), leads the Raiders into battle against the Tennessee Titans Sunday at O.co Coliseum, head coach Dennis Allen said after practice Wednesday.
“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.”
There is no question that McGloin earned a second start over Pryor for the Raiders (4-6)with his performance in the Raiders 28-23 victory on the road against the Houston Texans last Sunday, not because Pryor is nursing a Grade 2 sprain of his right MCL. Pryor took snaps with the second team and could serve as McGloin’s backup on Sunday.
McGloin completed 18 of 32 passes for 197 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The undrafted rookie quarterback out of Penn State appeared poised, confident and collected in his first career start and looked to be on the same page with his receivers all day. He also finished with a quarterback rating of 105.9, sending Houston (2-8), to its eighth straight loss of the season.
It didn’t hurt that running back Rashad Jennings had a career-day against the Texans, too.
Jennings finished the game with a career-high 150 yards rushing on 22 carries. His 80-yard touchdown run came out of the Wildcat formation, which is his career-long. Jennings has proven to be the healthy workhorse running back that Oakland has needed this year, with Darren McFadden in and out of the line up this season.
Oakland’s defense continued its strong play against Houston, forcing three fumbles (two by free safety Charles Woodson), two sacks and one interception. Cornerback Mike Jenkins led the team with 10 tackles.
The Tennessee Titans (4-6), are a coming off a 30-27 home loss to their AFC South foe, the Indianapolis Colts.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will make his fourth start of the season for the Titans in place of franchise quarterback, Jake Locker, who is done for the season with a Lisfranc injury.
In three starts this season, the Harvard graduate has thrown for 1,012 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. Fitzpatrick is a pure pocket passer and can get the ball out quick.
McGloin could have his work cut out for him when he faces Tennessee’s 10th ranked defense, led by cornerback Alterraun Verner.
Verner may not be a household name like Seattle’s Richard Sherman or Tampa’s Darrelle Revis, but is quickly making a name for himself. Verner is tied for the league lead with five interceptions (one returned for a touchdown).
Overall, the Titans’ defense is giving up 22.6 points, 213.1 passing yards, and 117 rushing yards per game.
Even though both teams are entering Sunday’s game with identical 4-6 records, this could be one a very competitive game.