Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams had been vocal about his lack of targets this season under head coach Josh McDaniels. With Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback, Adams had been targeted in the single digits in three of the Raiders' last four games. But on Tuesday, changes were made.
Raiders owner Mark Davis announced that he was firing McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler after eight games this season and less than two years on the job. McDaniels will be replaced by linebackers coach Antonio Pierce for the rest of the year, while Champ Bailey will fulfill Ziegler's duties. Also being shown the door on Wednesday was offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi. But that wasn't the only change left for the Raiders to make.
Early Wednesday morning, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the team was expected to start rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell over Garoppolo in their Week 9 game against the New York Giants.
NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport mentioned that this won't be a one-week change as O'Connell is expected to start "moving forward."
Raiders bench Jimmy Garoppolo, start rookie Aidan O'Connell 'moving forward'
Given that Garopplo's play has been less than stellar this season, the move isn't surprising. But why did the Raiders decide to make the move? Well, a Raiders source told Rapoport that O'Connell is "our best QB."
Garoppolo is linked to the failed McDaniels/Ziegler era in Las Vegas. Late last season, McDaniels benched quarterback Derek Carr and ultimately looked to move on from him in favor of another quarterback. Enter Garoppolo, who spent time with the New England Patriots alongside McDaniels and Ziegler. It was another example of a team trying to replicate the "Patriot Way" and failing.
After signing a three-year, $72.8 million contract, Garoppolo underwent surgery on his left foot, putting his status with the team in question. But, he was ultimately cleared. Even so, Garoppolo failed to live up to the expectations heaped upon him, as evidenced by a brutal Week 8 game against the Lions, highlighted by overthrowing a wide-open Adams downfield. Adams was limited to one catch for 11 yards on seven targets.
Through six games this season, Garoppolo threw for 1,205 yards, seven touchdowns, and nine interceptions while completing 65.5 percent of his passes.
O'Connell is a fourth-round pick out of Purdue. In his four years, O'Connell threw for 9,219 yards, 65 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions while completing 66.7 percent of his passes. O'Connell shined in the preseason for the Raiders and did receive some playing time this season. In Week 4, O'Connell got the start and threw for 238 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions while completing 24-of-39 attempts in the 24-17 loss.
In his two appearances this season, O'Connell completed 34-of-52 for 313 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
This season, Adams caught 47-of-78 targets for 539 yards and three touchdowns in eight games. He will have nine more games to try to reach over 100 receptions for the fourth consecutive season.
The Raiders decided that with McDaniels, Ziegler, and Lombardi out, they would send Garoppolo to the bench in favor of getting an extended look at O'Connell for the rest of the season. We'll see if that will lead to a much happier situation for Adams.