Raiders Rumors: Aidan O’Connell To Start If Jimmy Garoppolo Is Unavailable
Aidan O'Connell, Raiders
Aug 19, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders picked up their second straight win on Sunday, defeating the New England Patriots 21-17. Unfortunately, they lost starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the process, as he was taken to the hospital with a back injury. Veteran Brian Hoyer filled in on Sunday, but whether he or rookie Aidan O’Connell would start this Sunday if Garoppolo can’t go is up in the air.

Hoyer was solid in relief of Garoppolo on Sunday, completing 6-of-10 passes for 102 yards. He didn’t record a touchdown, but also didn’t turn the ball over either, which has been an issue for the Raiders. But it was O’Connell who got the call to start when Garoppolo sat out in Week 4.

And it sounds as if that will be the case once again should Garoppolo miss Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Hondo Carpenter confirmed that it will likely be the rookie O’Connell to step in via Raiders Beat:

“It will be Aidan O’Connell,” Sports Illustrated insider Hondo Carpenter said on the Las Vegas Raiders Insider podcast on Tuesday. Carpenter said Garoppolo will start if he’s available, and it sounds like it has been determined that Brian Hoyer won’t be in the mix to start this week.

It seems as if the Raiders have a plan with their backup quarterbacks in that Hoyer is tabbed as the player who will step in should an injury occur during a game, as was the case against the Patriots. But the Raiders will go with O’Connell when they have a full week to prepare, which happened in Week 4 and looks to be happening again this week as Garoppolo has not practiced so far.

It makes sense as the veteran Hoyer would be better able to step in with little preparation, while head coach Josh McDaniels would likely want to give O’Connell as much prep as possible as a rookie. O’Connell has shown some flashes both in the preseason and in Week 4 against the Chargers, and now he will likely get another chance to show what he can do on the road in Chicago.

The Raiders have a little bit of momentum behind them after two straight wins, and the Bears are certainly a beatable team who will also be without their starting quarterback after Justin Fields suffered a dislocated thumb. The Raiders will do whatever possible to give themselves the best chance to win on Sunday, and the team and staff believe Aidan O’Connell is that option.