Raiders Opt for Rookie QB Aidan O’Connell Over Veteran Brian Hoyer

The Las Vegas Raiders made an intriguing move over the weekend, deciding to put their faith in rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell over veteran Brian Hoyer, who many thought would get the start in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. The move came at a crucial part in the season for the Raiders, who entered the game 1-2 and needed a win to keep in touch with the now 3-1 Kansas City Chiefs. While O’Connell showed some flashes, the Raiders fell behind big early to the Los Angeles Chargers and couldn’t mount a comeback, losing 24-17.

Whether you’re a die-hard Raiders fan or just tuning into this story, there are plenty of fascinating elements surrounding the decision to thrust a rookie into the backup spot over a veteran like Hoyer.

The Unexpected Lineup Change

The twist came as a surprise to fans and analysts alike, who were expecting Hoyer to start for the injured Garoppolo. It was decided upon at the last minute that O’Connell, the fourth-round pick from Purdue, would start against the Chargers. O’Connell impressed, going 24-for-39 for 238 yards and a touchdown, nearly leading the Raiders back from a 24-7 deficit. Garopollo, who suffered a concussion last week against the Steelers, is expected to return next week at home on Monday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers.

Comparing O’Connell and Hoyer

The two backup quarterbacks provided contrasting profiles. O’Connell, a promising rookie, boasted a sterling preseason performance with 43 completions on 62 attempts for 482 yards. He’s shown a knack for accuracy and a quick release, scoring three touchdowns without interceptions. Fans have been buzzing about his potential since he was drafted in the fourth round. Despite a losing effort, there were a lot of positives to take away from his performance against the Chargers.

On the other hand, Hoyer is a seasoned veteran with 15 years in the NFL. Known for his stability and consistency, his role as a backup has been clearly defined over the years. The Raiders, however, are well aware of what Hoyer brings to the table, and this has likely factored into their decision to take a chance on O’Connell.

This move is strategic. Not only does starting O’Connell give the Raiders a better chance to win in the coaching staff’s eyes, but it also provides a chance to assess the rookie’s capabilities in a high-pressure game environment. It’s a gamble the Raiders were willing to take, and it nearly paid off on Sunday.

Looking Ahead To Next Week

The Raiders will be in a must-win situation on Oct. 9 against the Packers, trying to avoid a 1-4 start. With Garoppolo likely to return, the Raiders have a solid chance to bounce back. The Raiders hope to continue to stay in playoff contention by the time the NFL Week 10 odds come out.  


The Raiders’ decision to start rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell over veteran Brian Hoyer shook things up over the weekend. Given Garoppolo’s health issues over the years and O’Connell’s success on Sunday, O’Connell could see more opportunities to start should a similar situation arise in the future, signaling an end to Hoyer’s career as a backup.

It’s a thrilling time for Raiders fans and the NFL community. The outcome of next Monday’s game against the Packers could keep the Raiders’ season alive or put them in a hole they can’t dig out of.

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