The Las Vegas Raiders will be without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for their crucial Week 7 matchup with the Chicago Bears. The discussion quickly turned to who would be starting in his place: veteran Brian Hoyer or rookie Aidan O’Connell.
When Garoppolo missed Week 4, it was O’Connell who got the nod, and the rookie had a decent outing but wound up throwing a crucial interception with a chance to tie the game late. Last week with Garoppolo left in the middle of the contest, it was Hoyer who came in and played solidly as the Raiders picked up their second straight win.
Now with the chance to move above .500 for the first time this season, it sounds as if head coach Josh McDaniels is going with the veteran Hoyer as the Raiders go to Chicago, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk:
Raiders quarterback Brian Hoyer will start on Sunday against the Bears.
With Jimmy Garoppolo injured, Hoyer will get the start at Chicago, according to multiple reports. Officially, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels has refused to say whether Hoyer or rookie Aidan O’Connell will start in place of Garoppolo.
This does come as a bit of a surprise, as early indications seemed to point to O’Connell being the player to step in. It looked as if the strategy of McDaniels was that with a full week to prepare and come up with a game plan, the Raiders were fine going with the rookie, but stepping in the middle of a game such as last week was something more suited for Hoyer.
But perhaps Hoyer’s performance last week instilled more confidence in McDaniels and the Raiders coaching staff. Of course, the need to win now likely plays a role, as well as the Raiders are a team looking to make a playoff push at this moment and are not willing to sacrifice wins.
It likely helps that the Raiders are set to face a very beatable Bears team that is also missing their starting quarterback. The Bears are turning to rookie Tyson Bagent who finished their contest last week after starter Justin Fields suffered a dislocated thumb.
In the end, this contest represents an ideal opportunity for the Raiders to reach a winning record, and they need to put the player in at quarterback who gives them the best chance to do that. In the eyes of McDaniels, that person is Brian Hoyer.