Rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell made his first career NFL start for the Las Vegas Raiders during their loss Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. O'Connell had a rough first half, fumbling three times for two turnovers, but showed resiliency, leading the Raiders to a late comeback before ultimately throwing a game-ending interception.
After the game, head coach Josh McDaniels spoke on his rookie quarterback's NFL debut.
“He'll be the first one to understand the things he can do better,” said McDaniels, per Jesse Merrick of KSNV News 3 Las Vegas. “Playing quarterback in our league starts with taking care of the football… whether that be hanging onto it in the pocket, or making good decisions in the passing game, and also understanding the timing and that element of playing within the pocket in the NFL.”
Aidan O'Connell was starting in place of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who missed the game due to a concussion. It is unclear when Garoppolo will be available to return to the lineup.
O'Connell was drafted by the Raiders in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft after spending his college career at Purdue. While he certainly will have some learning to do at the NFL level, Raiders fans can be encouraged by the fact that he stuck with it and nearly helped the team mount an improbable comeback against a solid opponent.
Up next for the Raiders is a home game against the Green Bay Packers on October 9. That game, a Monday Night Football contest, is slated to kick off at 8:15 PM ET.