For the second week in a row, the Las Vegas Raiders went to battle without star left tackle Kolton Miller. The absence of Miller showed in Week 10 as rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell had an average time to throw of 2.41; the fifth-lowest among all quarterbacks to play that week. However, against the Miami Dolphins in Week 11, the rook’s average time to throw shot up to 2.85; the 13th-highest league-wide.
With such ample time to throw, especially for a signal caller who isn’t extending time with his legs, O’Connell must play better. He’ll be the first to tell you that, too.
In his fourth career start, the Raiders’ fourth-rounder finished his day with one touchdown, three interceptions, a 58.5% completion percentage and a quarterback rating of 56.0. Truly, this was a forgettable day in the office.
On Tuesday, O’Connell acknowledged where he must improve.
“There were guys open that I missed, and I just have to play within myself and take it one play at a time; don’t look ahead, don’t look back,” the rookie explained.
O’Connell’s statement holds true when playing back the film. On many occasions, the 25-year-old stared down a [covered] read while others were left in space. Sure, O’Connell went through his progressions often, but it just wasn’t quick enough. The Raiders’ offense simply houses too many playmakers for one to not be open at all times.
Don’t be too harsh on the Raiders rookie – Aidan O’Connell is still growing
Numbers wise, things don’t look too good for O’Connell. The Purdue alum has a 62.07% completion percentage with a 3:6 touchdown:interception ratio. Combine that with his 56.0 passer rating, and there isn’t much to write home about.
Still; it’s easy to forget Aidan O’Connell has a mere four starts under his belt in the National Football League.
With a loaded quarterback class coming up in the 2024 NFL Draft, it seems quite likely the Raiders will select a signal caller at some point in the draft. The play of O’Connell should dictate which round Las Vegas chases a quarterback in.
Six games still remain on the schedule, consisting of Kansas City (x2), Minnesota, Los Angeles (Chargers), Indianapolis and Denver. If the Silver and Black manage to end the season with a positive record, the likelihood of O’Connell being penciled in as the team’s QB1 in 2024 skyrockets. If not, look for the Raiders to chase a quarterback in round one.
Currently, Las Vegas sit at 5-6 with Kansas City up next.
*Top Photo: Chris Unger/Getty Images