Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo signed by Dave Ziegler

Ramblin’ Thoughts: An Honest Opinion Of The Jimmy Garoppolo Debacle

The absence of QB1 as the Las Vegas Raiders embarked on OTAs was, without question, attention-grabbing. Jimmy Garoppolo, after all, was signed to be the new lead man at the game’s all-important quarterback position, so where was he?

Raiders head honcho Josh McDaniels shared little, but then The Athletic dropped the bombshell that Garoppolo not only had surgery to fix his bum foot, but the Raiders made the signal caller sign a waiver that nixes the deal and has no financial repercussions for the Silver and Black if certain parameters aren’t met.

And, unsurprisingly, the mockery arrived as quickly as the news did. The jokes surely wrote themselves, didn’t they?

“Raiders, Jimmy Garoppolo union gets off on the wrong foot” was one of many headlines spewed across the media spectrum. Doom and gloom, or more fittingly, “Silver and Bleak,” filled the Twitter Verse as social media went aflame over the Raiders’ Jimmy G debacle.

What can you expect from a moribund franchise prone to blunders? After all, this was a team that stuck with a p******** quarterback for nine seasons. So stumbling out of the gate with their new QB1 is just the Raiders’ modus operandi at this point.

It will be water under the bridge for the Raiders and Jimmy Garoppolo

That all said, I am still of the opinion that this whole debacle will be water under the bridge.

“I have no anxiety. You guys may have anxiety,” McDaniels said during a post-OTA media session earlier this month regarding Garoppolo. “I have no anxiety.”

While I have reservations about Joshy Poo’s tenure, I’m in the same boat as the Raiders’ boss man.

By all accounts, Garoppolo is progressing well and will be ready for the upcoming season. While no definitive timetable is set for his on-field debut this offseason (McDaniels noted it may be until training camp in mid-July), I’m not bullish on the “lost season” notion that proliferated late last month.

And I’ll tell you why:

  1. There’s ample time for Garoppolo to get back into the fray and acclimate to McDaniels’ ways.
  2. Expectations for the Raiders were tempered long before general manager Dave Ziegler inked Garoppolo to a deal.

Here we are nearing the tail end of June, when OTA and minicamp notes are all the rage. Hanging on every word of updates—highlights and lowlights from performances at practices—and reading into every social media post made by players—franchise-tagged running back Josh Jacobs’ in particular—this is the time of year where news grinds to a trickle, and like the severely parched, we desperately seek that droplet of information like it’s life-sustaining water. Hence, I’m of the mindset of much ado about nothing.

The Garoppolo news wasn’t ideal…

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Garoppolo news wasn’t ideal. And a debacle it certainly smells of. But the Raiders decided their new quarterback needed to go under the knife to fix a foot injury he sustained in his final year as a San Francisco 49ers player—an ailment that the team deemed didn’t require surgery. After all, as a player, you trust your squad’s medical team. I mean, just ask Trent Brown about the debacle he suffered getting a shot from Raiders medical personnel.

Garoppolo is steeped in the ways of a coach who is my way or the highway-type — first with McDaniels (New England Patriots), then with Kyle Shanahan (49ers), and now he’s back with Joshy Poo. That gives the veteran quarterback the proper mindset as he reunites with McDaniels as the pair try to steer the Silver and Black offense to prominence.

Jimmy Garoppolo, by nature, is a steward and game manager by trade…

But that journey is likely to be arduous with rough seas—getting back to expectations tempered. Garoppolo, by nature, is a steward and game manager by trade. And while that may be ideal for McDaniels, things will get very intriguing this season when the absence of the long bomb becomes more and more apparent. Garoppolo feasts on short and intermediate throws, while the Al Davis-preferred deep bombs aren’t part of his repertoire. It’s not that Garoppolo doesn’t have the arm strength; it’s his accuracy on those long passes that isn’t up to snuff.

I’m not keen on McDaniels and Garoppolo adjusting to the defense’s muddying the waters on short and intermediate passes, knowing going deep isn’t the quarterback’s forte. And this with or without Jacobs in the offense, too.

Now, you’re welcome to disagree with my opinion. The discussion about Garoppolo will be plentiful this coming season. I’m of the notion that the Raiders new quarterback is going to be back in action sometime in training camp, so my honest opinion of the debacle is one of water under the bridge—inconsequential, if you will (please tell me you read that in Dusty Rhodes voice).

“I’m really excited he is here,” McDaniels said. “I feel very good because I have information that tells me we’re going to be fine. Nothing has happened that will change that.”

Here’s what will be the most surprising change with Garoppolo: If he plays a full season with Las Vegas. He only did that once in six seasons with San Francisco.

And that’s the key caveat…

I’m not obtuse in admitting Las Vegas’ quarterback depth is less-than-ideal. Without Garappolo taking snaps, QB1 has been Brian Hoyer (I really wish the veteran went by his given first name, Axel, as Axel Hoyer most definitely sounds like a Raider), with 2023 fourth-round pick Aidan O’Connell and 2022 undrafted free agent Chase Garber filling out the QB room. That’s a 37-year-old super vet leading the charge, with two youngsters behind him.

The lack of financial ramifications if Garoppolo doesn’t meet all the conditions of the addendum to the contract he has with the Raiders is a plus; it gives the team security. The quarterback isn’t a paragon of health, after all. But unless O’Connell accelerates his assimilation to the Raiders brand of football, it’s Hoyer.

Hence, I didn’t raise an eyebrow with this whole Jimmy G situation. He’s brittle. The Raiders knew this. And they’ll have to lie in the bed they made—for better or worse.

*Top Photo: Raiders Official Website

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