Garoppolo left Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots with a back injury serious enough he had to be taken to a local hospital. The Raiders believe Garoppolo “dodged a bullet” with the injury, however, believing it's far less serious than initially feared. But he was not healthy enough to practice Wednesday, and now the Raiders will be down a quarterback Sunday.
But which quarterback will they start?
On Thursday, NFL Network senior national columnist Judy Battista said on NFL+'s The Insiders that she believes the Raiders' preference would be to give the start to rookie QB Aidan O'Connell when the Raiders go into a game knowing Garoppolo can't play. If it's a situation where Garoppolo gets hurt during the course of a game, the team is more likely to go to the more experienced Brian Hoyer.
The Raiders started O'Connell when Garoppolo couldn't play in Week 4 because of a concussion. O'Connell was up and down in his one start, and the Raiders pivoted to Hoyer when Garoppolo left Sunday's win over the Patriots.
A 2023 fifth-round pick from Purdue, O'Connell started against the Chargers, completing 24 of 39 passes (61.5%) for 238 yards and a rushing touchdown and leading the Raiders back into the game, down 17 points in the first half. But he also was intercepted once, sacked seven times and fumbled three times, losing two of them in the 24-17 loss.
Hoyer stepped in for Garoppolo on Sunday, playing 25 snaps in the 21-17 victory over the Patriots, completing 6 of 10 passes for 102 yards and no turnovers.
Both the Raiders and Bears should be starting backup quarterbacks in Week 7. With Justin Fields likely out, Chicago are expected to turn to undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent for his first NFL start. Bagent replaced an injured Fields last week and had some moments, but the Bears fell to 1-5 with the loss to the Vikings.