Raiders coach: ‘I never lost confidence’ in Aidan O’Connell

Dec 15, 2023, 12:30 PM

Quarterback Aidan O'Connell #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders stands behind center against the Los Angele...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 14: Quarterback Aidan O'Connell #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders stands behind center against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium on December 14, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Following the Las Vegas Raiders shutout loss to the Vikings, questions arose if Aidan O’Connell would continue to start for the Silver & Black.

O’Connell shut those questions down Thursday night when the Raiders blew out the Los Angeles Chargers 63-21. When the final whistle blew, he ended his night with 20-of-34 pass attempts (58.8%) for 248 yards, four passing touchdowns, and a 120.7 passer rating. His four passing touchdowns are tied for the most by a Raiders rookie quarterback in a single game.

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“I never lost confidence. There was a lot of questions asked throughout the week and I made it very clear, and I believe it was yesterday [Wednesday], that I’ve never wavered on anything. You asked me a question and I said, yeah, I’ll keep evaluating this if that’s what you want to ask me, I’ll look into it. But I made that decision with Aidan [O’Connell] when I first took over, and I don’t think you ever go back on your gut,” interim coach Antonio Pierce said after Thursday’s win.

“And Aidan is a rookie. When I was a rookie and I played, I made mistakes. I had ugly games and it’s hard to play the position he plays, he’s going to have rough days and he had a rough day on offense last week. But you know what he did on Monday? His ass was the first one in the building. Know what he did yesterday? He’s the last one in the building, he didn’t leave. He stayed there all day until he got it right. Same thing today, didn’t leave the building all day today after our morning meeting. So, here’s a guy, he has a great opportunity, no different than me, and he’s taking advantage of it, and tonight he’s on the winning side.”

For the rookie, after Week 14’s loss to the Vikings, he leaned heavily on his veteran backup.

“This week, Jimmy [Garoppolo] actually really helped me a lot. We had some good discussions about just what the NFL is, how hard it is every week, how hard it is to bounce back after a game like that,” O’Connell said after Thursday’s game. “But it’s week to week, anything can happen. And so, I have great guys in my corner, Brian [Hoyer] and Jimmy are both super supportive and are helping me just kind of tread through the waters here in my first year.”

What is the upcoming schedule for Aidan O’Connell and the Raiders?

  • Monday, Dec. 25th @ Kansas City Chiefs – 10 a.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 31st @ Indianapolis Colts – 10 a.m.
  • Vs. Denver Broncos – TBD

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