Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol following a physically demanding Sunday night showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, raising doubts about his availability for the upcoming game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels, speaking on Monday, admitted uncertainty regarding when Garoppolo sustained the concussion as he had not yet had the opportunity to discuss it with the quarterback. Although Garoppolo did not exit the game due to a head injury, he took a hard hit to the helmet from Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, resulting in Garoppolo’s head making contact with the turf with just under seven minutes left to play.
Despite this, Garoppolo remarkably threw a touchdown pass to Davante Adams just two plays later and successfully converted a 2-point conversion pass. He remained in the game and was not examined for a concussion during the match.
“I’m not even sure what hit or if it was just an accumulation of [hits], I have no idea,” McDaniels stated. “There was never a conversation about that, so I’m not sure, exactly, and I haven’t seen him yet this morning, so I’m not exactly sure when it took place, or if it was just a culmination of things.”
Throughout the game, Garoppolo absorbed numerous hits and was sacked four times. Despite these challenges, he completed 28 of 44 pass attempts for 324 yards and two touchdowns, but also recorded three interceptions. He currently leads the NFL with six interceptions.
Initially scheduled to address the media after the game, Garoppolo’s appearance was canceled, and it was announced that he was being evaluated for a concussion in the locker room.
In the event that Garoppolo, who was signed to a substantial three-year, $72.75 million contract this offseason to replace the long-standing starter Derek Carr, is unable to play against the Chargers, the Raiders may have to rely on either 15th-year veteran Brian Hoyer or rookie Aidan O’Connell, who has yet to be active for a regular-season game.
Coach McDaniels commented, “We’ll prepare for everybody. Obviously, that would change things relative to Aidan, also, if Jimmy was not able to progress through the protocol to be able to play. So, we’ll have to manage that situation best we can as it progresses through the week.”
When asked whether there might be greater value in giving a rookie playing time for long-term development over a veteran if Garoppolo is sidelined, McDaniels emphasized the team’s commitment to making the best decision for the immediate situation.
“We’ll try to do the right thing for the team this week, for sure,” McDaniels affirmed. “No matter what it is, whatever that ultimately ends up being. We’re not going to use this like it would be a preseason game, you know what I mean? So, if the best thing for the team would be to do something down that road, then we would discuss that and consider it. But we haven’t begun those conversations yet. We will, obviously, today.”