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Pros-Cons of Brian Hoyer vs. Aidan O’Connell against Chargers

Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels has a decision to make

Las Vegas Raiders v Buffalo Bills
Jimmy Garoppolo, Aidan O’Connell, Brian Hoyer
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders may be playing a reserve quarterback Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers with starter Jimmy Garoppolo in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

On the surface, it would seem like the Raiders would go with No. 2 quarterback Brian Hoyer. After all, he has been the player who would go into a game if Garoppolo couldn’t finish it. Rookie Aidan O’Connell has been the emergency quarterback so far this season.

Yet, Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels didn’t commit to Hoyer being the starter against the Chargers on Monday and stated he and his staff would have to discuss it.

Here are points in favor of using Hoyer and O’Connell:

Reasons to play Hoyer:

He has experience:

Hoyer, 37, has played in 77 games and and has started 40 games (more than two full seasons total) in his career that started in 2009. This is the reason why McDaniels (who worked with Hoyer in New England) signed him.

O’Connell has no experience:

The rookie has yet to play a game in the NFL. That’s another reason why the veteran should be next man up if Garoppolo can’t play.

He can manage a game better:

Because of his experience advantage, Hoyer knows what to expect and he will be able to understand defensive schemes the Chargers will present faster than O’Connell. Nothing will be new for Hoyer.

Las Vegas Raiders v Dallas Cowboys
Aidan O’Connell
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Reasons to play O’Connell:

Hoyer hasn’t won in years:

Hoyer hasn’t led a team to a victory in a start since 2016. He is 0-12 as a starter in that stretch. His last win came on October 2, 2016 as the Chicago Bears beat the Detroit Lions 17-14. That’s a long time ago and winning is the only thing that matters.

He looked good in the preseason:

O’Connell, a fourth-round pick from Purdue, was one of the best stories in the NFL in the preseason. He looked good in extensive August play. Yes, the regular season is different, but O’Connell was exciting.

More upside:

O’Connell has intelligence, he’s accurate and poised. Give him a shot. If he is a success, the Raiders could have something special on their hands. If he struggles, it’s a good lesson for a rookie. We know what we got in Hoyer. Let’s see what we have in O’Connell.


If I were making the decision, I would go with O’Connell if Garoppolo can’t play. But I would get it if Hoyer gets the call. After all, the Raiders currently have him as the No. 2 quarterback for a reason, so they have believed in him more. But if Hoyer gets the call and struggles, the Raiders must give O’Connell a chance.

I know what the results are going to be, but let’s do this, anyway:


Who should start Sunday if Jimmy Garoppolo can’t play?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Stick with the vet
    (107 votes)
  • 95%
    Let’s see the rookie
    (2519 votes)
2626 votes total Vote Now