What a difference a month makes if you are a Raiders fan. The Raiders were poised to secure the number two seed in the AFC, get a first round bye and host a Divisional Round playoff game. Now, the Raiders will start third-string quarterback Connor Cook on the road today against the Houston Texans in a Wild Card matchup.
After Derek Carr went down with a fractured fibula, Matt McGloin took over the starting quarterback position. McGloin injured his shoulder in Week 17 forcing Cook into action. Cook played in his first NFL game one week ago and will make his first NFL start in the playoffs. It is less than an ideal circumstance for Oakland, but Cook did enter the league with a solid college football pedigree at Michigan State.
The Raiders drafted him at the beginning of the fourth round in the 2016 NFL Draft. The idea was for Cook to learn behind Carr while providing depth at quarterback for the Raiders. While he has been forced into action sooner than Oakland expected, the Raiders thought enough of Cook to trade up to ensure they could select him.
Cook held his own against the Broncos. He finished 14-of-21 for 150 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The good news for Cook is the Raiders have a lot of talent around him. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are two great receiving options. Running back Latavius Murray has had a solid year but will face a difficult Texans defensive line.
McGloin was listed as questionable this week but will serve as the backup to Cook. Oakland signed Garrett Gilbert this week as insurance but have not confirmed whether he will be active today against the Texans.
While McGloin will be the backup, it is unlikely he is 100 percent healthy. If the Raiders are able to defeat the Texans, they will have questions surrounding the quarterback position again as they face either the Patriots or Chiefs in the Divisional Round.