Rookie Aidan O’Connell Replaces Jimmy Garoppolo as Raiders’ Starting Quarterback

Posted on: November 2, 2023, 09:48h. 

Last updated on: November 2, 2023, 09:48h.

The Las Vegas Raiders make a surprising move as they bench starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in favor of rookie backup Aidan O’Connell, ahead of their upcoming game against the New York Giants.

Raiders Aidan O'Connell
Las Vegas Raiders rookie quarterback, seen here passing against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, will start in Week 9. (Image: USA Today Sports)

The Raiders, with a record of 3-5, will be hosting the Giants, who hold a record of 2-6, on Sunday.

This will be O’Connell’s second start of the season, as he previously started in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers when Garoppolo was sidelined with a concussion.

The decision to bench Garoppolo comes shortly after the Raiders fired head coach Josh McDaniels amidst a disappointing season.

Jimmy G Out, O’Connell In

Garoppolo has had a mixed performance this season, with a record of 3-3 as a starter. He has completed 65.5% of his passes for 1,205 yards and seven touchdowns, but has also thrown nine interceptions and been sacked 13 times.

With a passer rating of 78.1 and a QBR rating of 35.2, Garoppolo has struggled to find consistency this season, ranking at #30 in QBR according to ESPN.

Despite his injuries over the past few seasons, Garoppolo had a successful overall career, boasting a 40-17 record in 57 starts with the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots. However, the Raiders made the decision to sign Garoppolo in free agency after parting ways with former starting quarterback Derek Carr.

O’Connell, a fourth-round pick out of Purdue in the 2023 NFL Draft, will now have another opportunity to prove himself on the field. Veteran Brian Hoyer will serve as a backup in Week 9.

In his first start against the Chargers, O’Connell completed 24-of-39 passes for 238 yards, although he failed to throw any touchdowns and was intercepted once, while being sacked seven times in a 24-17 loss.

O’Connell also made a relief appearance against the Chicago Bears in Week 7, completing 10-of-13 passes for 75 yards and scoring his first career passing touchdown with Jakobi Meyers.

Halloween Deadline for Mark Davis

Team owner Mark Davis had set a Halloween deadline for making important decisions regarding the future of McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. Davis ultimately decided to make changes after the team’s disappointing performances.

Both McDaniels and Ziegler were fired when they failed to establish a winning culture in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, I had great hopes for Josh and Dave,” Davis said in an interview with ESPN. “It just seemed we were going in the wrong direction. So, with the trade deadline, I just felt it was time to make a change, time to make a move.”

The decision to clean house came after a humiliating loss against the Bears in Week 7, where the Raiders were defeated by an undrafted rookie quarterback who played in Division II last season. Tyson Bagent led the Bears to a 26-14 victory over the Raiders in his first NFL start.

Following another loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football in Week 8, Davis appointed Antonio Pierce as the interim head coach to replace McDaniels. Pierce, who played linebacker in the NFL for almost a decade, won a Super Bowl during his time with the New York Giants.

Bo Hardegree has been promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator and will now be responsible for calling the plays, taking over after the firing of former OC Lombardi.

Raiders Meet Giants in the Lo-Fi Bowl

The Raiders are currently favored by -1.5 against the Giants in their upcoming home game in Las Vegas. The quarterback switch and Garoppolo’s benching did not impact the betting line, which remains unchanged. The Raiders have a 2-1 home record at Allegiant Stadium this season, but they are 1-2 against non-conference opponents.

Quarterback Daniel Jones returns to the Giants’ lineup after a month-long absence due to a neck injury. The Giants are looking to bounce back from a devastating overtime loss to the New York Jets in Week 8, where they blew a late-game lead and ultimately lost the game due to a missed field goal. The Giants, who were 99% favorites to win, allowed the Jets to rally back and steal the victory.

The matchup between the Giants and Raiders features two of the worst offenses in the NFL. The Raiders currently rank #31 in offensive DVOA, while the Giants sit at the bottom, ranked #32.

The Giants have the lowest average points per game in the league, scoring only 11.9 points, while the Raiders have the third-worst offense, averaging just 15.8 points per game.

The over/under points total for this game is set at 37. If you’re inclined to bet the under, the Raiders have gone 6-2 in favor of the under this season, while the Giants have an even stronger record of 7-1 in favor of unders.

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