Another week, another win in the bag for the Las Vegas Raiders. There’s quite a bit to unload here following back-to-back dominant victories for the Silver and Black. A couple of players that have stood out so far are Brian Hoyer and Tre Tucker. That being said, here are some knee-jerk reactions to the Raiders 34-17 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
The Raiders Don’t Need to Keep Brian Hoyer
We got our first look at Hoyer in a Raiders uniform on Saturday. Let’s not mince words here, folks; it was not great.
After Jimmy Garoppolo finished the first series, the journeyman backup played the rest of the first half. Hoyer completed just over 50 percent of his passes and threw a pick-six, resulting in a putrid 55.9 passer rating. Rookie Aidan O’Connell took over in the third quarter, and the contrast was stark. ‘AOC4’ came out slinging it. He threw two touchdown passes on 18 attempts and posted an impressive 127.8 passer rating.
Given what we have seen from O’Connell through two preseason games, it’s clear that he has won the backup job. He just brings much more to the table than Hoyer. Now that the rookie has proven his mettle, there really isn’t much need for the veteran. Bringing Hoyer into camp made a ton of sense. He is an established quarterback with a lot of experience under Josh McDaniels. When O’Connell was still an unknown commodity, it was important to have a capable backup behind the injury prone Garoppolo.
Things have changed. O’Connell has shown enough that he can be trusted if he has to play. Keeping Hoyer on the 53-man roster is pointless. The only reason to keep three quarterbacks is if you have multiple backups that you are worried about getting snapped up by another team. Are we really worried about that with the 37-year-old Hoyer? Even if Garoppolo went down, they could probably just sign him again.
Brian Hoyer is not worth wasting a valuable spot on the opening-day roster.
Tre Tucker Is Not Ready to Contribute This Year
The rookie out of Cincinnati has had a rough go of it so far this preseason. While he has shown flashes of promise with his blazing speed, he is still very much a work in progress. Tucker has had several drops over the last two games. He has also been outperformed by several other wideouts around him on the depth chart. Keelan Cole, DeAndre Carter, and Kristian Wilkerson have all had strong showings. No. 89 has simply not looked like one of the Raiders’ top-five, or even top-six, wide receivers.
That itself isn’t necessarily a problem. A big part of the draw for Tucker was his explosive potential in the return game. However, he underwhelmed in that area as well. He muffed his only kick return. The punts went a little better, averaging 16.5 yards on four returns. In both areas, he was arguably outperformed by Carter. The journeyman receiver returned one kick and one punt and broke each for 30 yards or more.
It is far too soon to call Tre Tucker a bust, so we’re not going there yet. Nevertheless, there doesn’t seem to be a role that he has won. Honestly, if he were a five-year veteran, he would be a long shot to make the team. This puts the Raiders in a tricky situation. They have to give their third-round draft pick a chance. Unfortunately, that means that they will have to cut someone who is currently more capable.
Roster Cuts Will Be A Nightmare This Season
This is a good problem. The Raiders have a ton of guys on the back end of the depth chart that are playing really well. As mentioned above, getting down to six wide receivers is going to be tough. Competition has also been stiff on the offensive line.
On the flip side, there are position groups like the secondary where nobody has really stood out. Those last few spots will come down to who is the best in the middle of the pack. The same goes for the running backs.
Again, it is important to note that this is mostly a good problem to have. Depth is key in the NFL. So many good teams fall apart due to attrition. From what we have seen in preseason thus far, the Raiders should not have much drop-off if injuries pile up. Next week’s preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys will be quite intriguing. Las Vegas probably has a couple dozen players whose roster fates have yet to be determined.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images