McDaniels says Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell ‘handled himself well’ in NFL debut

Aug 14, 2023, 8:57 AM

Quarterback Aidan O'Connell #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders looks to throw as offensive tackle Justin H...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 13: Quarterback Aidan O'Connell #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders looks to throw as offensive tackle Justin Herron #71 of the Raiders blocks defensive end Alex Barrett #58 of the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter of a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium on August 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the 49ers 34-7. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Las Vegas Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell had a lot of firsts Sunday.

In the team’s 34-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers, O’Connell had his first NFL drive, first NFL touchdown, and first NFL pressure. Among much more. He would finish the day playing three quarters and going 15 for 18, with 141 passing yards, one TD and a QB rating of 117.8.

“It was good. Definitely, some things to work on still, but it was fun to be out there, live action and bullets are really flying,” O’Connell said after the game. “It’s a little different when you play quarterback, even if you practice against another team that can’t tackle you in practice and they can now. So, just to add a level of juice a little more. So, it was a lot of fun to be out there.”

Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer did not play in Sunday’s game. Chase Garbers, the lone quarterback holdover from last season, closed out the game in the fourth quarter.

Raiders coach Josh McDaniels agreed with his rookie, there were good takeaways with a lot to learn from his NFL debut.

“I thought he generally handled himself well for the first opportunity,” McDaniels said. “He’s gonna learn a lot from some of the things that we might have been able to do a little bit better that would have helped us maybe sustain a few drives, but that’s why he was in there. So, he just a sponge, he soaks it all in, and he’ll take every opportunity to improve.”

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