Jimmy Garoppolo’s Concussion Status Could Spark Raiders QB Controversy

Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders quarterback

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders quarterback

Whatever you could say about Jimmy Garoppolo’s line from Sunday night’s frustrating loss to the Steelers in the Raiders’ home opener, you’d have to admit, he filled the stat sheet. Garoppolo went for 324 yards on 28-for-44 passing, in the 23-18 loss, with three interceptions and two touchdowns, and after the game it was revealed that Garoppolo had another add-on: one concussion.

At least, Garoppolo was checked out for a concussion after the game, when he was supposed to be in his postgame media session. Instead, reporters were told that Garoppolo was in the concussion protocol — which begs the question of where coach Josh McDaniels would turn for a backup if Garoppolo can’t go in Week 4.

“If you have a concussion, you are not allowed to talk with reporters,” NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport said on Monday, speaking on the “Good Morning Football” show. “There will be more news later today on whether he was actually diagnosed with a concussion.  Brian Hoyer is the backup quarterback, then Aiden O’Connell, who they drafted this year, had some promising moments in the preseason, he is their third string if Garoppolo does have a concussion and then can not go.”

Garoppolo has a Long Injury History

The movement on Garoppolo was somewhat odd, because is he is in the concussion protocol, he must have taken a hit during the game. He certainly did plenty of that, as the Raiders, who entered Week 3 as the only team not to yield a sack, coughed up four to Pittsburgh. But still, Garoppolo played every offensive snap on Sunday night.

That means he did not self-report after a big hit during the game, and the team did not notice that Garoppolo was woozy at any point in the loss.

For the Raiders, losing Garoppolo for some period of time would not be an enormous shock—his inability to stay healthy has been one of the defining characteristics of his NFL career. He has missed 18 games in his last three seasons, and played a full slate of games only once, in 2019.

But concussions are not something Garoppolo has on his past injury sheet. He had a torn ACL in Week 3 in 2018, missing the rest of the year, and a nasty ankle sprain in 2020 that cost him half a season. A foot injury last December ended his season, and his career, in San Francisco.

Fans Would Not Like to See Brian Hoyer

Should Garoppolo be out for the Raiders’ next game in Week 4, against the Chargers, it will be fascinating to watch which way McDaniels will turn. As Rapoport mentioned, the team’s No. 2 QB is 37-year-old Brian Hoyer, a veteran of eight teams who has a long history with McDaniels going back to New England.

Hoyer also has a career mark of 16-24 as a starter.

But there might be a revolt among Raiders fans if Hoyer is called upon next. Even during training camp, there were suggestions that the Raiders should scrap the Garoppolo experiment and instead insert O’Connell, the team’s fourth-round pick out of Purdue.

O’Connell was outstanding during the preseason, going 43-for-62 passing, 482 yards and three touchdowns in three games. That doesn’t mean the Raiders want to throw him into the fire, but given their options, going with O’Connell makes sense. 482 passing yards and had a QB rating of 108.4. He threw no interceptions and had a passer rating of 108.4

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