New interim head coach Antonio Pierce said Garoppolo took the news well and has responded to it as he would have hoped.
“We talked about it like grown men,” Pierce said of Garoppolo. “At the end of the day Jimmy’s on our team. Jimmy’s still a captain. Jimmy’s still a leader. I’m sure at some point, Jimmy’s going to have the ball in his hand again. Things happen, it’s the National Football League, you’re never going to say it’s 100% this is how we’re going to do it. Things can happen. So, for us, I’m very appreciate of Jimmy.
“Since Jimmy’s been here he’s been nothing but a pro. And really taught our team how to be a pro. Also how to win. I’m not just talking about on the grass, I’m talking about in the meeting rooms. How to carry yourself, how to talk, how to handle adverse situations. And that’s what I’m proud of.”
For this reason, Garoppolo will be on the sideline, ready to enter the game should O’Connell leave injured or otherwise. While Brian Hoyer will be inactive as the emergency third QB. And if you think all this was a given, you haven’t been paying attention.
Being benched doesn’t automatically mean Garoppolo would be one play away from coming back in the game. Things could have gone differently. You need only go back to the very last time the Raiders benched their starter and captain.
Late last season Derek Carr was benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham. And Carr not only was not keen on being the next man up, he wasn’t even in the building or on the sideline for the final two games of the season. He left the team altogether, never to return. Thus leaving only undrafted rookie Chase Garbers to back up Stidham.
Suffice to say, Carr clearly did not handle such adversity with the same “grown man” grace that Jimmy has his benching.