Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's status is up in the air for Week 4's matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers. Could a change be a-brewing?
Garoppolo suffered a concussion during Sunday night's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The ex-49ers quarterback didn't have to exit the game for a head injury, but he was examined for a concussion after the loss and had to enter concussion protocol.
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said he didn't know if it was one hit or "an accumulation of hits" that caused Garoppolo to hurt his head. On one play in the fourth quarter, Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick hit the Raiders quarterback and the force knocked Garoppolo's head to the ground, which could be the most concrete evidence of how Garoppolo picked up his concussion.
Regardless, Garoppolo may not be able to suit up in time for this upcoming Sunday's 4:05 p.m. ET game against the Chargers. If that's the case, beat reporter Vincent Bonsignore suggests the team may consider starting rookie Aidan O'Connell as a potential long-term replacement.
Raiders may ask rookie Aidan O'Connell to step up for Jimmy G
Las Vegas also has backup veteran Brian Hoyer on the roster, who would admittedly be the safer short-term option. Assuming Garoppolo didn't suffer a severe head injury, he may only miss a week of action at most. Having Hoyer play in Garoppolo's absence feels like the move the Raiders would make if they had complete and utter trust in Garoppolo playing the rest of the season.
Should there even be a shred of doubt surrounding Garoppolo's quarterback play, Las Vegas could be leaning toward starting O'Connell, a raw talent who has yet to play an NFL snap.
The 2023 fourth-rounder from Purdue showed plenty of potential in training camp and preseason -- albeit it was the preseason. Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett also looked fantastic during the preseason, so any performances during that period should be taken with heapings of salt.
Would the rewards outweigh the risks of playing O'Connell? That's the ultimate question that Josh McDaniels and the Raiders have to ask themselves. Giving O'Connell regular season experience would be crucial to his ongoing development and help the team better evaluate him for the future; however, with a 1-2 record and their AFC West rivals catching up to them, the Raiders may not be able to afford to roll the dice.
This week of practices should provide more clarity on the Raiders' hazy quarterback situation.