By Dennis O'Donnell

KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm on KPIX 5 and offers his unique sports analysis here.

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Before we get too excited about Matt McGloin becoming the 4th player since 1970 to throw three touchdowns with no interceptions in his first NFL start, you should know that one of the others was Todd Marinovich.

The USC kid, who was raised by his dad to be a quarterback, was the Raiders first round pick in the 1991 draft, 24th overall.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at both of their first NFL starts.

Marinovich: 23-40, 243 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 100.3 rating
McGloin: 18-32, 197 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 105.9 rating

For the record, in his second NFL start, Marinovich was 33 for 59, 395 yards, with one touchdown, three interceptions, and a 61 passer rating. Following that season, he never threw another NFL pass.

Let’s hope that’s where the comparison with McGloin comes to an end. The rookie quarterback was overlooked at Penn State, the NFL combine (didn’t even get invited), the NFL draft and the Raiders. Yes, I said the Raiders. He was, in Dennis Allen’s words, a “camp quarterback.”

In layman’s terms, Matt McGloin was the proverbial extra arm who threw balls so Matt Lynn wouldn’t burn out his arm. Then Flynn was cut. So was Tyler Wilson, a 4th round pick. Then Terrelle Pryor got hurt and it was, well, the last man standing. “Hey, you over there, Matt McDonald is it? Put your helmet on and don’t get anyone killed out there!”

So what do you say about a rookie quarterback who nobody knows, comes into a game very few care about, and plays with the poise of a five-year veteran? His first two touchdown passes were short-field jobs courtesy of turnovers.

His third touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera was brilliant. Against a nickel defense, he looked left to draw the safety, and threw over the linebacker right into the arms of Rivera, capping off a long drive with Dennis Allen asking his offensive coordinator, “What was that guys’ name again?”

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of McGloin’s first game was his demeanor. If you watched the 49ers the same day, you’d swear it was Kaepernick, not McGloin who was playing in his first start.

McGloin was incredibly poised in a pocket protected by one of the worst-ranked offensive lines in football. Kapernick looked like Fred Astaire behind one of the NFL’s best o-lines.

Now comes week two and Tennessee will be waiting. The first strategy employed by defensive coordinators against rookie quarterbacks is called Blitzkrieg. McGloin will draw more attention than Batkid.

And this is where Rashad Jennings comes into play. After all, if McGloin beats out Pryor, then Jennings wins over McFadden, right? Jennings had 340 yards in his last three games, including 150 against Houston.

Tennessee has allowed more touchdowns than any team in football, and has given up 130 yards per game over the last six. If Tennessee comes hard at McGloin, look for Olsen to use a heavy dose of draws, a few screens, and quick slants. McGloin’s mid-range stuff was his best measure of accuracy.

His name is Matt McGloin. Don’t wear it out. Or, on second thought…

See you on TV.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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