When Raiders quarterback Derek Carr first got hurt, someone asked me the chances of Connor Cook starting if Matt McGloin struggled in the week 17 game against the Broncos. At the time, I dismissed the notion because of the fact that Cook is a rookie who literally hadn’t even been active on game day all season long.
But after the fiasco we saw in Denver, I’ve changed my mind. When the Raiders play their first playoff game in 14 years, they should start a rookie who has never started a game in the NFL before then. That’s right, I said it. The Raiders should start Connor Cook over Matt McGloin in the playoffs.
I believe this for two reasons:
THE HOPE FOR THIS SEASON IS LOST
Many of us, myself included, took a week to hang onto hope after Derek Carr broke his leg. Having not seen Matt McGloin start a game in years, there was hope he had improved and that on an improved Raiders roster, he could find some success. On Sunday, the cruel mistress that is reality smacked that hope right out of Raider Nation.
Even if the Raiders were to pull off an upset over the Houston Texans, either the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers is what awaits them. Chances of Oakland pulling off an upset of those teams is slim to none.
Because of that, any argument that McGloin’s experience gives Oakland a better chance to win goes out the window. The Raiders we saw on Sunday will be lucky to keep a game in the playoffs close let alone pull off an upset win.
THE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE IS FAR FROM LOST
Matt McGloin is not in the future plans for the Oakland Raiders, that’s all but certain. But C0nnor Cook sure could be. Though he had a rough outing in his first NFL experience, Cook showed some promise. He has the physical attributes and arm strength to be good but his decision making and accuracy could use some help.
Now, Cook has the chance to work on his skills while also obtaining playoff experience. If he is going to be an upgrade at the backup quarterback position, this experience could prove to be valuable. Sunday was the first start that Derek Carr has missed in his career so getting live game snaps as his backup won’t come often. The fact that these snaps are in the playoffs is even better.
Plus, being the third string quarterback and a rookie, the expectations for Cook would be massively low. He Would be expected to make mistakes and lose.
Without much hope of finding success in the playoffs and with Matt McGloin likely on his way out of Oakland, it seems clear that the Raiders should start Connor Cook in the playoffs. The team invested a fourth round pick in Cook and allowing him to start in the playoffs is the best way to back that investment.