Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell on what he learned in his rookie year

Apr 16, 2024, 1:42 PM

Aidan O'Connell #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders is greeted by teammates during player introductions pri...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 07: Aidan O'Connell #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders is greeted by teammates during player introductions prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Las Vegas Raiders will go into the 2024 season with a revamped quarterback room. After signing Gardner Minshew in the offseason and being connected to rumors the team will trade up in the 2024 NFL Draft, there’s uncertainty at the position.

However, Aidan O’Connell, the lone holdover from last season, is taking what he learned in his rookie year and applying it to his second year in the league.

The 25-year-old Purdue product was thrust into the starting position halfway through the 2023 season after Mick Lombardi and Josh McDaniels were fired and Jimmy Garoppolo was benched. In 11 games, 10 of which he started, Aidan O’Connell threw for 2,218 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Even though it was difficult, he said he feels lucky to “go through a lot of craziness” in his first season.

“I think definitely all the changes that happened in the first year are definitely going to help me for the future. And then just trying to be more grateful, trying to have more gratitude for the situation I’m in,” O’Connell said. “I think I got a little too narrow-minded last year and just closed off and put too much pressure on myself at times rather than taking a step back and being grateful for the opportunity that I get. I wasn’t really supposed to be here by any means, to be in this position. And so, to get the opportunity to compete and play is a privilege.”

Earlier this offseason, new Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce praised O’Connell’s work ethic and the way he took care of the ball, especially late in the season. But when pressed on what the young quarterback needs to work on, Piece wants O’Connell to be more vocal. Looking back on last season, the quarterback knows he could’ve been more vocal with his teammates.

“Reflecting, I definitely could have done a better job of that last season. And it’s hard as a rookie, my head was spinning, and I was trying to figure it out on the fly,” O’Connell said. “And so, there’s aspects to playing quarterback more than just throwing the football and running the plays that are called. So, yeah, that’s definitely something I’m trying to develop and trying to be better at, and also just being myself and putting my best foot forward every day. I think definitely leading by example is important, but as a quarterback I know I have to be vocal. So, there’s a combination of things I’m definitely working on, like I said, and this offseason was a good time to reflect and work on those things.”

Key offseason dates for Aidan O’Connell and the Raiders

  • April 15  First Day of Voluntary Workouts
  • April 25-27 – 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit
  • May 20-21, May 23, May 28-29, May 31, June 3-6 –OTAs
  • June 4-6  Mandatory Minicamp

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