Considering how the game played out on Sunday, is it fair to question whether the Las Vegas Raiders coaching staff trusts rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell right now?
There’s a lot to dissect in terms of what went wrong for the Raiders against the Miami Dolphins. Perhaps the biggest concern following that tough loss was the state of the offense. In particular, do the coaches have faith in their signal-caller? Let’s face it, the play calling from offensive coordinator Bo Hardegree certainly paints a concerning picture. No, that’s not an overreaction, folks.
Despite an incredible effort from their defense, Aidan O’Connell and Co. were largely a disappointment, especially in the clutch. How bad was it? Well, Hardegree’s boys didn’t put up any points in the third and fourth quarters. On top of that, there was not a single first down in the second or third quarter as well. Simply put, that’s unacceptable with the level of talent that’s on offense.
After starting 2-0 as interim coach, Antonio Pierce finally hit a roadblock. The team as a whole falls under his guise, whether he’s an offensive coach or not. O’Connell was put in a tough spot, rookie or not. Trying to maximize Josh Jacobs wasn’t working—39 rushing yards on the day for No. 8, regrettably. Time and time again, Hardegree opted to run the ball, even when it was clear it wasn’t working.
When the first half was drawing to a close, the Raiders went run three times, with a new set of downs facing a 14-10 score. There were still a little over two minutes left, by the way. Then, with under one minute left in the half, the team went full-conservative. Not a single shot to score a touchdown; not a good look, Bo.
It’s easy to criticize in hindsight, sure. But anyone with some semblance of football IQ would know you needed to take a shot with the momentum your defense was creating. Then again, playing it safe is how this coaching staff is protecting their young quarterback.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images