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Josh McDaniels says Raiders mulling changes on offense

Updated October 31, 2023 - 5:21 pm

Changes could be on the way for the Raiders offense after a disastrous performance on “Monday Night Football” in Detroit.

Exactly how dramatic and immediate those adjustments might be are still very much up in the air, according to coach Josh McDaniels.

“We obviously have to do better, so there’s a lot of things we’re going to look at and a lot of things we’re going to consider,” McDaniels said during his Tuesday morning news conference after returning from a 26-14 loss to the Lions.

That assessment could include a decision on whether Jimmy Garoppolo remains the starting quarterback Sunday when the Raiders host the Giants, though McDaniels declined to specifically comment on the position. He said the team hadn’t met yet, and the coaches were still in the process of breaking down what went wrong, making it too early to make any formal decision, much less an announcement, on any changes at the position.

“We’re going to evaluate the film and make the corrections,” McDaniels said. “I don’t want to speak on that. I have confidence in all our guys. We just have to be able to play better and do it as a group. There’s a lot of us that have to do some things better.”

McDaniels said the offense’s ability to establish any kind of rhythm was particularly frustrating because of how well the defense played and kept the team in Monday’s game, but he believes success and failure in the passing game are determined by more than just the quarterback.

“Obviously there are plays where we had an opportunity to make some plays and did not do it,” he said. “Missed a few throws, clearly. But I thought we had some protection issues, some blitz pickup issues. We have to be able to do better, and the ability to do well in the passing game is usually the function of 11 guys doing their job pretty well.”

McDaniels also downplayed the possibility of Garoppolo’s struggles being related to lingering health problems, from the offseason foot injury to the concussion that kept him out of the Chargers game and the back injury that forced him to miss six quarters.

“I can’t speak for him on that,” McDaniels said. “But we’ve never put him out there when there’s been something that’s a significant issue. We’ve tried to be smart with that. I know he’s dealt with some things, but we’ve just followed the advice of the medical people and him knowing his body.”

If a change is made, it’s almost certain rookie Aidan O’Connell would get the opportunity to make his second start.

The fourth-round pick from Purdue struggled mightily in his previous start, fumbling three times and losing two, throwing an interception at the goal line with a chance to tie the game and holding on to the ball too long on the way to seven sacks against the Chargers.

When Garoppolo was out three weeks later against the Bears, McDaniels opted to start Brian Hoyer. That didn’t go well, either, and O’Connell entered that blowout loss late in the game.

O’Connell was designated as the backup quarterback Monday with Hoyer serving as the emergency option, a change in the depth chart and sign the team could be gaining trust in O’Connell or losing faith in Hoyer.

“Those guys really compete hard and practice well, and I think Aidan’s really been making progress, and we want to give him some opportunities if they present themselves,” McDaniels said.

The Raiders (3-5) have two straight games at Allegiant Stadium, hosting the Giants on Sunday and the Jets on Nov. 12.

Raiders lose player to Chiefs

The Raiders lost practice squad linebacker Darius Harris, who was signed to the Chiefs’ active roster Tuesday.

Harris spent his first four seasons in the Chiefs’ organization, winning two Super Bowls and appearing in 28 games.

He signed with the Raiders in the offseason and was waived during training camp. The Raiders brought him back to the practice squad Oct. 24, but he was not activated for Monday’s game.

The Chiefs are dealing with several injuries to their linebacking corps, and Harris provides positional versatility and the ability to contribute on special teams.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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