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.
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, and 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 due to injury, to a three-year, $72.75 million free-agent contract this offseason to replace nine-year starter Derek Carr. Garoppolo 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.”