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Initial thoughts on Raiders starting Brian Hoyer at Chicago

Team is going with veteran against Bears

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
Brian Hoyer
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Athletic is reporting that the Las Vegas Raiders will start veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer over rookie Aidan O’Connell at the Chicago Bears on Sunday (10 a.m. PT kickoff) as Jimmy Garoppolo’s injury replacement.

Here are some early thoughts on the decision:

Not a surprise:

Reading through the tea leaves this week, it seemed like the team was leaning toward the veteran in this game. So, it wasn’t shocking news.

Change of course:

There has been a working assumption that the Raiders would go with Hoyer if Garoppolo needed to be replaced during a game and they would turn to O’Connell if he had a week to prepare for a game. Both scenarios have already unfolded.

O’Connell, a fourth-round pick from Purdue, started in a Week 4 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers when Garoppolo was out with a concussion. Hoyer replaced Garoppolo last week as O’Connell was the emergency quarterback. But, even with the team knowing in advance that Garoppolo wouldn’t be able to go this week, Hoyer got the call ahead of O’Connell. So, even with the time for practice reps, coach Josh McDaniels opted for the 38-year-old Hoyer ahead of the fourth-round pick from Purdue.

Previous results play a factor?:

Hoyer was 6-of-10 and made a couple of big plays in the second half as the Raiders held off the New England Patriots 21-17 in Week 6. O’Connell committed three turnovers in a Week 4 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers. After the game, McDaniels mentioned O’Connell’s lack of ball security. So, maybe the Raiders simply trust Hoyer more at this point.

The kid can always play:

Unlike when Garoppolo is healthy, O’Connell will be the backup Sunday, so he can play if Hoyer struggles or gets hurt.

Down on O’Connell?

Does this decision mean McDaniels and the coaching staff have cooled on O’Connell. No, it’s just the decision for this week. The plan all along was for him to be the No. 3 this season.

Get Adams involved:

This week, Raiders’ star wide receiver Davante Adams made it clear he wants to be more involved after not getting the ball much lately. Adams has a combined six catches for74 yards and no scores in the past two games, both Raiders’ wins. Adams is fully healthy after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 4. Expect Hoyer to look for his star often and push the ball down field for him,

It’s just Chicago:

This screams of being the safe call. The Bears are terrible at 1-5 and they have lost 10 straight games at home dating back to last season. They are starting undrafted free agent quarterback Tyson Bagent. This is an extremely winnable game, so that may be one of the reasons why Las Vegas is going with the vet.

Been a long time:

Hoyer has lost 12 straight starts dating back to October, 2016. Let’s see if he can break the streak.

Next week:

What happens if Garoppolo is out next week at the tough Detroit Lions? Well, it depends on what happens in this game. This decision was for this week. Everything is fluid.