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Raiders Week 8: Brian Hoyer starting again this season is waiving the white flag

Veteran quarterback doesn’t give the Las Vegas coaching staff anything they don’t already know

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Chicago Bears
Brian Hoyer got the start at quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders against the Chicago Bears. The veteran threw two interceptions (one a pick six) in a struggle of an effort in Las Vegas’ lopsided 30-12 loss.
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Carving out a 16-year career is quite the feat in the NFL. In that comes 79 career games and 41 starts. That’s the tale of the tape for Las Vegas Raiders veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer. His career has been pretty much an open book and there’s nothing more we can learn from the 38-year-old signal caller than what we’ve seen so far.

Instead of snapping a 12-game losing streak as a starting signal caller, Hoyer added dreaded No. 13 to the straight-Ls streak with a dismal performance in the Raiders’ 30-12 road loss to the Chicago Bears this past Sunday.

Hence why if Hoyer starts another game for the Silver & Black this season, the Raiders are waiving the white flag. Giving Hoyer the reins again is a fool’s errand for any head coach, and Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels isn’t that obtuse — right? He was very bullish on his decision to give Hoyer the pilot’s seat in Chicago, though.

“Look, I’ve seen him practice every day, you know what I mean? I’ve watched him,” McDaniels said in the postgame press conference after Sunday’s shellacking. “I saw Aidan in the L.A. game. Had an opportunity to really understand what was going on there. Saw Brian last week in the New England game. So just made a decision to try to go with the veteran guy and try to go out there and play a solid game. I’m not going to second-guess that.”

McDaniels went on to note he was expecting a “clean” game from the super veteran Hoyer and instead, the coach and chief play caller on offense got the complete opposite. That performance should firmly plant Hoyer as the quarterback on the sideline and not in the field of play. Despite his best efforts, he hasn’t won a game in seven season, has lost 13 straight, and is no longer the “safe” choice to play a “clean” game.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
It’s debatable if Josh McDaniels has his Las Vegas Raiders pointed in the right direction.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve seen Hoyer has to offer. And McDaniels and his coaching staff should know what the Michigan State product can and cannot do.

Hoyer even sounds exactly like McDaniels.

“Look, the reality is it’s the NFL. No matter who you play on Sunday, if you don’t come and execute, then that’s what’s going to happen, and they came out and played better than we did,” the quarterback said after the loss to the Bears. “That’s the result that you see. It doesn’t matter what you do during the week, it matters what you do on Sunday, and today we just didn’t execute well.”

Despite the lopsided defeat this past Sunday, and the upcoming primetime showdown at the mighty Detroit Lions Monday night, Las Vegas still remains in the thick of things in the standings at 3-4 overall. Things can continue to spiral downward, but a win lifts the Raiders back to .500 at 4-4 after Week 8 action. Thus, if and when Jimmy Garoppolo is healthy, he should be QB1. But if he isn’t, Las Vegas would do well to go with the enigma: Fourth-round rookie Aidan O’Connell at quarterback.

Unlike Hoyer, who is in the twilight chapters of his career, O’Connell is at the forward of his book. We’re not even to table of contents with the Purdue product. He was thrust into action after McDaniels threw up the white flag in Chicago and benched Hoyer. O’Connell did throw an interception while finishing 10 of 13 for 75 yards with one touchdown pass and the pick. Even though McDaniels seemed surly when asked about why the rookie didn’t get the nod or play more in Chicago, one must assume the Raiders coach isn’t a supreme dunce. He has to know the Raiders haven’t seen everything they need to from O’Connell.

“I think just the level of consistency every day in everything he does,” Raiders offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi said when asked what the Raiders want to see from O’Connell in terms of development.

Mind you, the question was based on McDaniels’ quip of “it’s not the preseason anymore”.

“Aidan is a smart guy who works hard and tries to get better, but I think the speed of the game is something you can’t really see in practice,” Lombardi continued. “But I think in terms of just his preparation and mindset and the way he goes into it and consistently making the right plays and the right decisions on every play, is something that you look for at every quarterback, especially Aidan. So, moving forward, we’ll try and do that, and he’ll try and do a good job of that.”

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Chicago Bears
Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) should be QB1 if Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t available to start for the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Hoyer already set the bar extremely low on making right plays and decisions with his Bears debacle. How much worse can it get with O’Connell — a rookie that is going to make mistakes. That’s what the Raiders need to see and get answers on: What mistakes O’Connell will make, how he reacts to them, and if he improves the next outing or not. Bad games will tell the coaching staff more and give them a definitive answer on if they scouted and drafted well or not.

Being scared to find that out helps no one.

Even if Lombardi stressed it was a “we” thing and not a “he” thing with Hoyer.

“Not just Brian’s, but I think the whole unit, including everybody, we just didn’t do a good enough job of extending plays, extending drives and finishing off and scoring points at the end of it,” Lombardi said when asked directly about his assessment of Hoyer. “Our execution wasn’t where it needed to be. Our lack of, I would say, mental stamina and concentration wavered at the end of some drives, and then we turned the ball over. So, you are not really able to get a rhythm that way and all of a sudden you find yourself down 14 points. It’s hard to kind of take control of the game when you find yourself down by two scores in the middle of the second quarter. So, not good enough from anybody. Not just Brian, but the whole unit.”

The quarterback dictates a lot of that — sets the tone. That should be Garoppolo, if not, O’Connell though.