The Raiders Should Cut QB Brian Hoyer After Emergence Of Aidan O’Connell

The Raiders Should Cut QB Brian Hoyer After Emergence Of Aidan O’Connell

The Las Vegas Raiders signed not one but two former New England Patriot quarterbacks this offseason. Jimmy Garoppolo, rightfully so, hogs the spotlight in Vegas, but veteran Brian Hoyer was a notable signing in his own right — at least at the time. Now, with the emergence of Aidan O’Connell, the writing is on the wall for Hoyer’s eventual departure.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old did not appear in Week 1 of the preseason, instead giving way to O’Connell and Chase Garbers. As you’d have it, ‘AOC’ dominated the San Francisco 49ers and caused many in Raider Nation to wonder why Hoyer was the presumed favorite to backup Garoppolo.

Hell, O’Connell has looked so good that some are even questioning why Garoppolo is on the Raiders at all..

Now, the excitement around the fourth-round rookie is warranted. But let’s pump the brakes on O’Connell being a full-time starter in the regular season. No matter how you feel about Jimmy G personally, he boasts an absurd amount of experience behind center.

The new QB1 in Vegas was able to “knock the rust off” with an impressive opening drive vs. the Los Angeles Rams in Week 2. He engineered an early touchdown and had the offense moving efficiently downfield — then Brian Hoyer happened.

The 15th-year veteran struggled mightily, including an ugly pick-six interception midway through the second quarter. He also turned the ball over on downs later in the quarter before somewhat salvaging the performance with a late field goal as the half ended.

All in all, Hoyer completed only 12-of-22 passes and failed to move the ball against backups. Although it is only one game, the former undrafted free agent looked like a shell of his former self. And frankly, his former self wasn’t all that impressive, anyway.

The Writing Is On The Wall; Aidan O’Connell Will Send Brian Hoyer To The Unemployment Line Soon

The emergence of O’Connell is more damning for Hoyer than his own lackluster play. The Purdue Boilermaker product got off to a hot start vs. the 49ers, recording a 15-of-18 day where two of the three incompletions went down as drops by fellow rookie Tre Tucker.

O’Connell followed up a stellar debut with another strong outing vs. the Rams. He completed over 60 percent of his passes and led two long scoring drives for the Silver and Black. The box score shows that O’Connell outperformed Hoyer, but the tape only further cements that stance.

Hoyer is supposed to be a steady hand at quarterback. He has been through the offseason process 15 times now, but based on his play vs. L.A., you would have never known he was a veteran. The offense stumbled with Hoyer at the helm, leaving legitimate concern about his viability as a backup to the oft-injured Garoppolo.

O’Connell’s play, combined with the untapped potential in his right arm, should be enough to supplant Hoyer as the team’s QB2. There is little reason for a near-40-year-old to take valuable snaps away from a 24-year-old that is clearly still ascending.

It is important to note that the NFL changed the quarterback rule, allowing a coaching staff to game plan in advance for injuries. Hoyer’s familiarity with the Josh McDaniels system might be enough to latch onto a roster spot. But it would prove to be a terrible decision to keep Hoyer entrenched as the primary backup over ‘AOC’.

’AOC’ May Not Be Ready For QB1 Duties, But He Earned The Backup Spot For The Raiders

O’Connell is not a franchise quarterback — not yet, at least. Will he ever be? That is hard to say based on two preseason performances. However, the only way to know is to allow him the chance. He should not start games for the Raiders if Garoppolo is healthy. But if Jimmy G gets banged up, it would be wise for Vegas to see if O’Connell performs as well in a regular-season contest.

I wish Hoyer the best. He carved out a career that any NFL player would take in a heartbeat. But his time has come and gone. Garoppolo is the head honcho, and O’Connell should be his understudy. Capable spot starters are still available on the open market; Hoyer should not stop the Raiders from finding out what they have in the rookie signal-caller.

Who knows, perhaps O’Connell can follow in the footsteps of the team’s former No. 4? Unlikely? Sure. But possible? Absolutely.

*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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