Penn State Football: McGloin Still Feeling It a Day After His NFL Starting Debut
Monday was the first day after Matt McGloin’s first day as a starting – and victorious – NFL quarterback.
And although it was after 9 o’clock on the West Coast when we connected, McGloin had just finished dinner. “It’s been,” he said without complaint, “a hectic day.”
Nothing sweet after dining, though. He’s trying to stay fit, trim and 210. And besides, he already had his just desserts.
That would be Sunday, when the former Penn State star led the Oakland Raiders to a 28-23 victory on the road against the Houston Texans, tossing three touchdown passes – of 5, 16 and 26 yards -- against the NFL’s top defense.
It was literally a once-in-a-lifetime performance. In the NFL’s 93 years, McGloin was the first undrafted first-year quarterback to throw for three touchdowns and no interceptions in his first-ever start. Of course, when McGloin started in place of the injured Terrelle Pryor, the NFL had never seen a lifetime like the one belonging to 23-year-old Matthew James McGloin of Scranton, Pa., by way of University Park, Pa.
Need proof? His first pass on Sunday was for a touchdown (a five-yard slant to Denarius Moore). As was his seventh (a 16-yarder to Rod Streater). And his third TD pass came on a drive that featured completions of 36, then 16, then finally 26 yards (to Mychal Rivera) to give the Raiders a 21-17 lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Overall, McGloin completed 18 of 32 passes for 197 yards, with no interceptions, to six different receivers for a quarterback rating of 105.9.
The win in Houston on Sunday, with brothers Paul and John in the stands cheering him on, upped the Raiders’ record to 4-6 and boosted them to eighth seed in the AFC playoff race (the top six qualify). And the 28 points were a team-high for the season, a mark neither Pryor nor catch-and-release one-game starter Matt Flynn could achieve.
And now, McGloin admitted in his after-dinner phone call Monday night from Oakland, he was feeling it. He was feeling it in every way possible:
The aches and pains from getting hit by the NFL’s No. 1 defense: “I’m pretty sore. I took some pretty good shots there from No. 99 – (JJ) Watt. He’s definitely a good player. I’m sore, but I’m doing all the things I need to get it right.”
The congratulatory calls and texts: “My cell was blowing up after the game. And it still is even today. What’s important to me is that it’s all the same people who I still keep in touch with – reaching out, calling, texting. They’re people who have been there since I walked on at Penn State. I couldn’t be happier and more proud of where I come from, and happy to have those people in my life.”
The texts from his Penn State coaches: “(Bill) O’Brien reached out to me to say congrats and we texted a little back and forth. Coach (Charlie) Fisher reached out to me. I actually called coach Fisher last week when I knew I was going to start. I have a really good relationship with both those men.”
The national media lauding his performance (i.e., NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport: “They love his competitiveness, they love the way his teammates look at him in the huddle. If Sunday was a barometer for McGloin, I would say he came out pretty well.”): “I’m actually surprised it blew up a bit like that. To me, it was just an opportunity to go out there and contribute and help us win a game on the road. It’s football to me. That’s the way I see it. I really don’t see it as me making my first start or making it any bigger than it should be. It’s a game and it’s a game to me. We have another one on Sunday.”
The confidence that comes with being The Man all week in practice: “I had an idea early on in the week that I was going to play and I was getting all the reps in practice. Mentally, you’re ready as a backup. But as a backup, you don’t get the physical reps that you need. From the start of practice on Wednesday all the way through Saturday I pretty much got all the reps with the first team. I can’t tell you how much that helps prepare you for Sunday. That’s a big thing right there. You need a good week of practice, you need to understand the way guys run routes, with blocking schemes and protection. So that was really beneficial for me.”
The joy of seeing his homework pay off in Sunday’s exam: “The first two touchdown passes were plays we repped all week in practice. A lot went into it -- what coverages we might see, what their tendencies were, what we saw on film and the ability to hit those throws throughout practice. Fortunately for me, we got those types of looks on Sunday, so I was able to hit those throws. It does feel good when your hard work and all the practice you put in pays off in the game.”
The post-game press conference look-sharp, feel-sharp GQ ensemble of a deep-blue suit, with a light blue collared shirt, blue tie with white flecks and a soft and silky aqua pocket square: “It’s a business. We’re all professionals, so you have to dress the part, you have to look good. You represent yourself, your organization, your family, where you come from. That’s pretty important to me.”
The next game, at home against the Tennessee Titans, coached by former Penn Stater Mike Munchak and owners of the NFL’s seventh best pass defense: “You wake up (Monday) and yesterday’s over and you’re looking ahead to tomorrow. Today was a day to help your body recover, get in there and lift, watch film and get off to a start of the week by getting a feel for what some of the things that Tennessee likes to do. Then it will be back at it in practice on Wednesday.”
The games after Tennessee: “We have Tennessee on Sunday and the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in Dallas.” And, I might add on McGloin’s behalf, followed by the Jets in MetLife (Dec. 8), the Chiefs at home (Dec. 15), at the Chargers (Dec. 22) and at home against the Broncos and that Peyton Manning guy (Dec. 29).
The praise from his head coach, Dennis Allen, who said on Monday: “You can’t measure what’s inside somebody’s head or heart. This guy’s overcome a lot of challenges and a lot of people who said he couldn’t do something. And he did it anyway. It’s more about what’s in a guy’s mind and in a guy’s heart as to whether they can do it or not. ... Will he start (against Tennessee)? I will say this: Obviously, with Matt’s performance he’s certainly earned the right to be in the discussion.”
Admit it, Dennis Allen. You're feeling it, too.