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


Las Vegas Raiders Bench Garoppolo for O’Connell as Starting Quarterback

Posted on: November 2, 2023, 09:48h. 

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

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 Las Vegas Raiders have made a significant change at quarterback, replacing Jimmy Garoppolo with rookie backup Aidan O’Connell.

The Raiders (3-5) will be hosting the New York Giants (2-6) this coming Sunday.

O’Connell will be starting for the second time this season. He previously took the field in Week 4, filling in for an injured Garoppolo, resulting in a loss against the Los Angeles Chargers.

This quarterback shake-up comes just hours after the Raiders fired head coach Josh McDaniels in the middle of his second season in Las Vegas.

Jimmy G’s Performance and Departure

Garoppolo, who had a 3-3 record as a starter in nine games this season, has been struggling. He completed 65.5% of his passes for 1,205 yards and seven touchdowns, but also threw nine interceptions and was sacked 13 times.

With a passer rating of 78.1 and a QBR rating of 35.2, Garoppolo ranked 30th in QBR this season, according to ESPN.

Despite dealing with multiple injuries in recent seasons, Garoppolo boasted a 40-17 record in 57 starts with the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots. The Raiders acquired him in free agency, parting ways with former starting quarterback Derek Carr.

Having previously worked together with McDaniels in New England, Garoppolo’s reunion with the head coach in Las Vegas was short-lived, as the duo failed to replicate their past success.

The Raiders also fired offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi alongside McDaniels. Under their guidance, the team’s offense ranked second-to-last in the league.

Making Room for O’Connell

O’Connell, a rookie drafted from Purdue in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, will get another chance as the starting quarterback. Veteran Brian Hoyer will serve as the backup in Week 9.

In his first start against the Chargers, O’Connell completed 24-of-39 passes for 238 yards but failed to throw any touchdowns. He was intercepted once and 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 notching his first career passing touchdown.

Mark Davis’ Halloween Deadline

Team owner Mark Davis had set a Halloween deadline to make important decisions regarding the future of McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler.

Davis ultimately fired both McDaniels and Ziegler, citing the team’s lack of a winning culture.

“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 Raiders’ decision followed a humiliating loss to the Bears in Week 7, during which they were unable to defeat an undrafted rookie quarterback from Division II. The Bears emerged victorious with a 26-14 score in the rookie’s first NFL start.

Following another disappointing defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions in Week 8’s Monday Night Football, Davis decided to clean house.

Antonio Pierce was appointed as the interim head coach, replacing McDaniels. Pierce, a former NFL linebacker, previously won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants.

Bo Hardegree, the team’s former quarterbacks coach, was promoted to offensive coordinator. Hardegree will be calling the plays after Lombardi’s dismissal.

Raiders vs. Giants in the Lo-Fi Bowl

The Raiders are currently a -1.5 favorite against the Giants in their upcoming game in Las Vegas. The line did not change following the quarterback switch and Garoppolo’s benching. The Raiders have a 2-1 record at home this season but are 1-2 against non-conference opponents.

Quarterback Daniel Jones will be returning to the Giants’ lineup after a month-long absence due to a neck injury. The Giants are seeking a rebound after a devastating overtime loss to the New York Jets in Week 8. Despite being a 99% favorite to win, the Giants blew a late-game lead and ultimately lost due to a missed field goal. The Jets rallied back and seized the victory in extra time.

The Giants and Raiders matchup highlights two of the lowest-ranking offenses in the league. The Raiders hold the 31st spot in offensive DVOA, while the Giants sit at the bottom with a ranking of #32.

The Giants have only managed to average 11.9 points per game this season, the lowest in the league. The Raiders, with an average of 15.8 points per game, have the third-worst offense.

The over/under for the game is set at 37 points. If you’re considering betting the under, the Raiders have a 6-2 record this season, while the Giants boast a 7-1 record in under totals.

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