Raiders' Jimmy Garoppolo remains in concussion protocol

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

HENDERSON, Nev. -- Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains in the NFL's concussion protocol, putting his availability for Sunday's game at the Los Angeles Chargers in jeopardy, but coach Josh McDaniels remains hopeful that he'll play.

Garoppolo did not practice on Wednesday.

The Raiders might have to pivot to either 15-year veteran Brian Hoyer, who last won an NFL start on Oct. 2, 2016, or rookie Aidan O'Connell, a fourth-round draft pick who has yet to be active for an NFL game.

"You've got to get everybody ready to go in the meetings," McDaniels said Wednesday. "We can incur injury anytime in practice, too, so we kind of treat all our players as if they're going to be ready to go and they've got to play. So, it's no different in that regard.

"... We'll use all of our time wisely, walk-through meeting ... and then we're just going to go through the week and see where it all lies. But we'll give the guys reps in practice -- they usually get reps anyway, to some degree. It'll be a little bit more, obviously, if Jimmy's not out there today. So, we'll just take it one day at a time, do the best we can and then we'll see what tomorrow brings."

Garoppolo was concussed in the Raiders' 23-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, though he was never taken out of the game. A postgame evaluation determined the injury.

He was sacked four times in the loss, in which he threw three of his league-leading six interceptions. He was hit hard throughout, including a helmet-to-helmet hit from Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter after which Garoppolo's head snapped hard off the grass field.

The Raiders (1-2) signed the oft-injured Garoppolo, who has missed at least 26 regular-season games since 2018 because of injury, to a three-year, $72.75 million free agent contract this offseason to replace nine-year starter Derek Carr. Garoppolo, 31, underwent surgery on his left foot after signing with Las Vegas in March.

"Like I said," McDaniels said, "we'll see how Jimmy progresses through the week. ... It's moving. We'll see how fast it goes."

All-Pro receiver Davante Adams said O'Connell has "opened up a lot of eyes since he's been here" and he added that Hoyer, who has been in the league since 2009, brings "maturity" to the position.

He said he feels comfortable with both, if Garoppolo can't play.

"I mean, we've been all working together for so long now, so it's really not as big of a thing as what it might seem on the outside, as far as the adjustment and getting used to going with somebody new," Adams said.