Jimmy Garoppolo is still in the concussion protocol, which puts his status in doubt for the Las Vegas Raiders‘ Week 4 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. There has been some fan outcry about starting rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell if Garoppolo can’t play but it’s looking unlikely that will happen, per ESPN.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler offered some insight on the Raiders’ quarterback situation.
“The Raiders are optimistic that Jimmy Garoppolo can work his way through concussion protocol and play Sunday vs. the Chargers,” Fowler reported in a September 27 column. “He must clear five steps, including clearance from an independent neurologist, but the belief early in the week is Garoppolo is doing well. Brian Hoyer is in line to start should Garoppolo need more time.”
It appears the Raiders aren’t entertaining the idea of O’Connell playing as Hoyer has a long-standing relationship with head coach Josh McDaniels. O’Connell played well in the preseason. Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus named him the biggest winner of the preseason in an August 30 column.
However, he has yet to take live snaps in a regular season game so the Raiders may lack confidence that he’s ready to take that step already.
Brian Hoyer Doesn’t Give Las Vegas Raiders Much of a Chance to Win
Brian Hoyer knows Josh McDaniels‘ system and has played 15 years in the NFL. It’s logical why the team would prefer to start him over a rookie. However, Hoyer doesn’t give the Raiders much of a chance to win. The last time he won a game that he started was back in 2016.
He has lost 12 straight starts. Aidan O’Connell may be untested but he at least would bring home to the offense. Hoyer is a known commodity and it’s hard to see the Raiders beating a playoff Chargers team with him starting. O’Connell showed a lot of promise in preseason and could have success against a weak Chargers defense. However, it appears that the Raiders are going to play things safe and role with Hoyer if Garoppolo can’t go.
It’ll be interesting to see if O’Connell is put in the game in the event that Hoyer struggles.
Josh McDaniels Leaves Door Open for Aidan O’Connell Start
While it sounds like Brian Hoyer is the next man up at quarterback, per ESPN, Josh McDaniels isn’t saying anything definitive yet. When speaking about Jimmy Garoppolo’s status, he left the door open for a possible Aidan O’Connell start.
“We’ll prepare for everybody,” McDaniels told reporters on September 25. “Obviously, that would change things relative to Aidan [O’Connell] also, if Jimmy [Garoppolo] was not able to progress through the protocol to be able to play. So, we’ll be hard at work to probably manage that situation as best we can as it progresses through the week.”
The risk of playing O’Connell is that he players really well and fans start calling for him to start over Garoppolo, who leads the NFL with six interceptions right now. The Raiders may not be keen on having a quarterback controversy this early in the season. The best-case scenario for McDaniels is if Garoppolo is able to play on Sunday.