Cowboys vs. Raiders: Five Questions With Silver & Black Pride

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

It's a Thanksgiving showdown with the Raiders.

This year, the Cowboys will be doing their annual Thanksgiving Day dance with the Oakland Raiders. So we checked in with Silver & Black Pride to see how things are going with the Raiders.

Blogging The Boys: Who is Matt McGloin? What is the scouting report on him and is he the future in Oakland?

Silver & Black Pride: Too early to tell if he's the future. He has played just two games. Although he has been quite good in those two games. He has thrown for 4 TD's to 1 int. Last week he was without top receiver, Denarius Moore, and soon lost one of his favorite targets in rookie tight end, Mychal Rivera.

Matt McGloin is the definition of scrappy. He didn't receive any offers out of high school so he walked on at Penn State. By his senior year, he was the default starter under new head coach, Bill O'Brien. He took it and set school records. He went undrafted and then went unsigned as a priority free agent. He tried out for the Redskins and left unsigned. He tried out for the Panthers and left unsigned. He then tried out for the Raiders who were looking for a temporary fill-in for their priority undrafted rookie quarterback. McGloin impressed the staff so much, they signed him instead and dropped the other guy.

He went about his business and moved ahead of fourth round pick, Tyler Wilson, in camp and the team ended up keeping him instead of Wilson come final roster cuts. Then Matt Flynn stunk it up in week four and was moping around for a week so they cut him and suddenly, McGloin was second string. Then Pryor got hurt and there was McGloin once again with the start. He has been very solid. The Cowboys have an undrafted free agent starting at quarterback to working his way to a starting job so you guys should know full well not to underestimate such players.

BTB: Will Darren McFadden play? Should he play considering the recent success of Rashard Jennings?

S&BP: McFadden is expected to play. Although Jennings will start and get the bulk of the carries with McFadden used as a change of pace back. We could also see him in a couple special packages.

BTB: Looks like tackle Jared Veldheer will return. How does this affect the offensive line and how well have they been playing?

S&BP: Veldheer is not expected to start or play extensive minutes but it's possible that could change. When he is in, the team will probably shift Khalif Barnes to left guard. Current starting left guard, Lucas Nix, is literally the worst guard in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus so having while having Veldheer in there is huge, having Barnes at left guard makes it even more of a asset. McGloin has done well to get the ball out quickly in the past two games and having Veldheer protecting his blind side with Barnes helping out inside would be a very good thing.

BTB: Will we see Terrelle Pryor in the game, possibly in a Wildcat package?

S&BP: That is the question. He still wasn't 100% last week. If he had been, we expected to see him in some packages. They would likely put him in near the goal line or in short yardage to run a read option. They tried a couple wildcat plays with Marcel Reece last week that went for nothing so I wouldn't suspect they would try that again.

BTB: Give us a quick scouting report on the Raiders defense.

S&BP: They run a 4-3 base with plenty of 3-4 mixed in. Early on they had an issue showing their blitzes before the snap but have gotten much better at disguising blitzes and coverages. The linebackers are versatile with all three playing the run, pass rush, and coverage with equal proficiency - which is to say fair to middling in all areas.

They run a zone defense in the secondary for the most part with starters Tracy Porter and former Cowboy, Mike Jenkins at the cornerback spots. They are a little banged up in the secondary, with rookie cornerback DJ Hayden out for the season and strong safety Tyvon Branch not back from his injury yet. Hayden played nickel corner and is replaced by Phillip Adams who is capable. Branch has been replaced by Brandian Ross mostly with Usama Young mixed in as well. Ross has been a liability and I would expect Romo to light him up a couple times. Charles Woodson rounds out the secondary. He is still very good. The savvy veteran has been known for forcing turnovers this season.

Lamarr Houston is the man to watch for. He is the pass rushing force and will put pressure on Romo. Pat Sims and Vance Walker have played the run fairly well, Sims especially showing some stout run stopping skills and surprising bull rush abilities. Jason Hunter is out and his left defensive end spot will be replaced by committee. He is a run stopper more than a pass rusher and he is replaced by a combination of defensive tackles and defensive ends.

Thanks, and head over to Silver & Black Pride for more on the Raiders.

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