Connor Cook Is the Raiders’ Best Option Regardless of Matt McGloin’s Health

By default, the Oakland Raiders expect to start rookie quarterback Connor Cook in Saturday's AFC Wild Card Game at the Houston Texans.

Franchise quarterback Derek Carr is out with a broken fibula, and NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday morning backup Matt McGloin is "not believed to be ready" after he injured his left shoulder in Week 17.

But McGloin's lack of availability could work as a blessing in disguise for the Raiders, who are better off with the talented and mysterious Cook under center as they embark on a nothing-to-lose playoff run.

It's scary not knowing what to expect. With McGloin, you generally knew what you were getting. With Cook, not so much.

But this way, a very good Texans defense also doesn't know exactly what to expect.

McGloin is on plenty of tape; Cook is not. And that surprise element can't be overlooked.

McGloin has taken 493 snaps in the NFL, all of which would have been viewed by Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel before Houston started practicing this week. The league's top-rated defense would have had plenty to work with in preparation for a matchup with a career backup who has thrown 11 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions and lost six of his seven starts.

Instead, Crennel and Co. have to rely primarily on college tape in order to get a feel for Cook, who spent virtually the entire season holding a tablet before throwing the first 21 passes of his NFL career in place of the injured McGloin last week.

Don't think the element of surprise is a factor? Look at Dak Prescott's rookie season. The Dallas Cowboys' fourth-round pick wasn't supposed to play in 2016, but an injury to regular starter Tony Romo forced him into the lineup, and he posted the highest rookie passer rating in NFL history.

Look at Carson Wentz, who also wasn't expected to start as a rookie in Philadelphia until the Eagles traded Sam Bradf...

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