While there has been so much talk about who would be his replacement Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers, there appears to be a chance that Las Vegas Raiders starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be able to play.
He is in the NFL’s concussion protocol after Sunday’s 23-18 home loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels said Wednesday that Garoppolo is still in the protocol, but indicated he is making progress. McDaniels stated it is possible Garoppolo will be ready to play Sunday.
“(Garoppolo is) moving (through the protocol),” McDaniels said. “We have to see how fast it moves.”
ESPN reported earlier Wednesday that the team is optimistic that Garoppolo can play against the Chargers. It will, of course, depend on how he continues to progress. He must clear the protocol before being able to play. But McDaniels’ public comments Wednesday seemed to mesh with the report, so there does, indeed, to appear that Garoppolo has a chance to play at the Chargers.
#Raiders have been optimistic about Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) availability Week 4. He's got to pass through protocol stages but there's a feeling he can make it back for #Chargers game barring surprise. https://t.co/JbP0lCyA6V— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 27, 2023
McDaniels didn’t commit either way when asked if Garoppolo needed to practice in order to play this week. He did say Garoppolo is able to go through all team meetings in preparation of Sunday’s game as he goes through the protocol, which is another good sign. It’s no surprise, but Garoppolo didn’t practice Wednesday.
Garoppolo had a rough debut as the Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback at Allegiant Stadium and he was consistently hit the defeat to the Steelers on Sunday night.
Garoppolo was sacked four times (after not being sacked in the first two games) and he threw three interceptions in the game and leads the NFL with six picks. Things got worse Monday, as McDaniels told reporters that Garoppolo was in the protocol. He was checked for a concussion after the game and thus did not speak to reporters.
McDaniels said he was not sure when Garoppolo suffered the concussion but there were no indications of it during the game.
Veteran Brian Hoyer has been Garoppolo’s backup so far and rookie Aidan O’Connell has been the emergency quarterback. Monday, McDaniels wouldn’t say who would play if Garoppolo can’t against the Chargers. He kept that stance Wednesday, saying only that both players will prepare for Sunday’s game as they have done all season,
Hoyer has experience but he hasn’t won an NFL start since 2016. O’Connell has no regular-season experience, but he did look good in the preseason. Wednesday, McDaniels said experience is important, but, ultimately, playing the player who gives the team the best chance to win is what is most important.
So, if Garoppolo can’t play, the mystery of who plays will continues. Yet, it seems if Garoppolo keeps trending in the right direction, he will play.
Meanwhile, key special teams player Curtis Bolton is dealing with a knee injury and his status may be unclear this week as well.
Meanwhile, for the Chargers, running back Austin Ekeler is on track to return.
#Chargers RB is Austin Ekeler (ankle) s back at practice. He’s stretching and going through warm ups with the rest of the team. He’s moving without any limitations on that injured ankle so far.— Kris Rhim (@krisrhim1) September 27, 2023
But key defenders Derwin James, Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack for not practicing. James hurt his hamstring Sunday. It’s unknown if he can play Sunday. Bosa was among several Chargers’ starters not to practice to with an injury. It is not known if it will affect his game status.