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Then there was Terrelle Pryor and all that talk about his elite running ability and he made the Raiders' offense unpredictable and dangerous and maybe he was better than Colin Kaepernick (maybe he is). And then the league figured out Pryor real fast and he got hurt and the Raiders didn't seem motivated to start him anymore.

And all of a sudden, McGloin — rhymes with coin, pork loin and groin — became the starter and the quarterback of the future and the current hope of the franchise. All the usual stuff.

As you recall, he's an undrafted rookie from Penn State, signed with the Raiders as a free agent. That means no one was eager for his services. You have to look hard for his bio in the Raiders media guide. You can find it under "Other Free Agents," the lowest designation. He merits a few inches of type. Flynn gets three pages, Pryor two.

But McGloin didn't join the Raiders to read. He joined to play. You couldn't help noticing how he played in the fourth quarter. The Raiders trailed 16-12 with 8? minutes left. McGloin started his drive at his own 25 with a long way to go. This is what he did.

He hit Rod Streater for a 19-yard gain. In my notebook I wrote, "Bullet."

Rashad Jennings ran for 1 yard.

McGloin hit Streater for 13 yards near the sideline. In my notebook I wrote, "McGloin avoids pressure."

He hit Jennings for 15 yards.

Now the Raiders were at the Titans' 27.

McGloin hit Marcel Reece with a 27-yard pass. Touchdown Raiders. In my notebook I wrote, "Led Reece with nifty high fly. Threw it over defender. Perfect."

For that drive McGloin deserves the highest praise. He created a touchdown under extreme pressure. Held his poise. He threw four beautiful completions. Threw no incompletions. He moved the team 75 yards in five plays and did the whole thing in under three minutes.

That is good quarterbacking. That is "stand up and clap your hands" material.

And that requires further discussion. What do we see in McGloin? He is calm. He throws the ball — for the most part — exactly where it needs to be. Right there. To the exact spot.

What else did we see? He threw a pick in the first half — "I didn't put the ball where it needed to be," he said. The pick led to a Tennessee field goal. But he shook it off. That is the ultimate quarterback mentality. Think Brett Favre. McGloin shook off the bad, never lost his aggressiveness, just kept playing.

Four of his passes got knocked down at the line of scrimmage. Boing. He's short and that's why no one drafted him, and tall D linemen will knock down his passes. "It's what happens," he said. "Passes get knocked down. It happens to everybody. They (the Titans) did a good job of not rushing at certain times, just reading the quarterback and where his eyes were going."

But he played well in spite of the pick, in spite of Tennessee linemen playing volleyball with his passes.

And get this: He is a better passer than Pryor. He is more composed than Pryor. He does not run as well as Pryor, but he runs well enough. And he is a better quarterback than Pryor. He really is. He deserves to start more than Pryor deserves to start. And that may be forever.

After the game, I asked Dennis Allen if McGloin earned another start. "Yeah," Allen said, "I thought Matt played well. And for him to lead us back when we needed a touchdown — he got us the touchdown we needed to give us the lead. We just couldn't hold it defensively. I thought Matt played well."

McGloin came to the postgame interview room. He arrived before the media and stood behind the microphone patiently waiting. He wore designer jeans, a white shirt, a blue sports jacket with a white hanky folded into a triangle in the breast pocket of the blue jacket. He looked snappy.

Someone said he will start next Thursday in Dallas. "That's not really my decision," he said, "the same as it was last week. I'll be ready when and if called upon."

That's another example of his QB mentality — neutral voice, shows no emotion, stoic to the max.

So, we ask: Do his mentality and his late touchdown pass under pressure and his blue jacket with the white hanky mean he is the Raiders' quarterback of the future?

I don't have the slightest idea.

The Raiders are nowhere near naming or proclaiming such a thing. They are in flux, deep in the flux of growing up. McGloin may be "the" guy. Or he may be just "a" guy, someone the Raiders replace one time or other.

We can say two things with certainty: McGloin played well on Sunday. He gets to play again on Thanksgiving. His world extends no further than that.

<i>For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.</i>