Raiders News: Aidan O’Connell Named Starting Quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo Benched
Aidan O'Connell, Raiders
Oct 22, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) runs off the field against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

After a listless loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 8, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis finally made the moves fans have been waiting for as he fired both general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels.

Ziegler and McDaniels came into the organization together as the Raiders looked to replicate the success the two had with the New England Patriots, but it was clear their way wasn’t working. Las Vegas currently sits at 3-5 during the 2023 season and is likely to miss the postseason, a reality that forced Davis to act.

McDaniels’ firing was the most predictable as he underwhelmed through the one-and-a-half seasons he manned the sidelines. He was given the 2023 campaign to right his wrongs from last season as they gave him his preferred quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo, but that ended up hurting his case more than helping it.

Without McDaniels, it appears that Las Vegas is intent on seeing what it has from rookie Aidan O’Connell as they are promoting him to the starting quarterback role and benching Garoppolo via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:

O’Connell was the Raiders’ preseason star and even drew a start against the Los Angeles Chargers earlier this season with Garoppolo dealing with injury. He also replaced Brian Hoyer against the Chicago Bears after the veteran mightily struggled.

It’s quite the dramatic move for the Raiders to make at this point of the season, perhaps an indication that they’re embracing a tank and trying to move up in the draft in order to select one of the highly-touted quarterback prospects in this year’s class. With three wins under their belt, it’s hard to imagine them getting the first overall pick which most presume will be used on USC star Caleb Williams, but the team could still be in the running for UNC’s Drake Maye or Oregon’s Bo Nix.

Regardless, this is looking like another lost season for the Silver and Black, who came into the year thinking they could make a run at the postseason. However, at least the franchise has clarity about where the roster stands and is doing the right thing by setting themselves up for next year and beyond.