Raiders coach Josh McDaniels had his starting quarterback return to the lineup on Monday night against the Lions and likely assumed some of Vegas’ woes on offense would be resolved.
Instead, starter Jimmy Garoppolo led an offense that looked as bad as ever and only scored 7 points in a 26-14 defeat. Garoppolo failed to complete a pass to a wide receiver in the first half, and the offense blew plenty of opportunities given to them by the defense, which created three turnovers.
On Tuesday, McDaniels still refused to unequivocally say that Garoppolo will start this week against the Giants.
“We haven’t even met with the players yet. We’re going to evaluate the film. We’re going to make the corrections. I don’t want to speak on that,” McDaniels said when asked if O’Connell is potentially in the mix to start or receive playing time.
Considering the Raiders signed Garoppolo to a lucrative contract before this season to become the starter in Las Vegas, McDaniels’ non-commital to his chosen signal-caller is noteworthy.
“I have confidence in all our guys,” he continued. “We just have to be able to play better and do it as a group. And there’s a lot of things that go into that. As I said last night, there’s a lot of us that have to do some things better.”
As for O’Connell, McDaniels said, “We’ll see” what happens in the days and weeks ahead.
“I think Aidan’s really been making some progress. Just want to give him some opportunities if that presents itself. We’ll see how it goes going forward,” said McDaniels.
McDaniels is in a bit of a pickle: while O’Connell could be the better option after he looks at the game film, removing Garoppolo from the lineup would amount to admitting a mistake in signing Garoppolo. For that reason, general manager Dave Ziegler also figures to be interested in McDaniels’ decision.
The desire to win should rise above that issue, however. And McDaniels simply has to fix his woeful offense.
So who gives the Raiders the best chance to win, Garoppolo or O’Connell? Each has received playing time, and the offense has still failed to score more than 19 points in a game, so McDaniels evaluation will probably be close. We’ll know his decision soon enough as Las Vegas prepares to host the Giants at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday.