Raiders News: Aidan O’Connell Says Antonio Pierce Has Given Him ‘Great Opportunity’
Aidan O'Connell, Raiders
Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) throws the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders start OTAs this week, which means players will finally get to hit the field together and prepare in earnest for the upcoming 2024 season.

The Raiders will host OTAs on May 20-21, May 23, May 28-29, May 31, and June 3-6 before mandatory minicamp, which will take place from June 11 to June 13. New head coach Antonio Pierce will need to use these periods to fully install his system and schemes on both sides of the field and begin the process of figuring out who his starting quarterback will be.

Gardner Minshew is projected to be the starter for Week 1 of the regular season, though Pierce has been open about the competition between the veteran and second-year quarterback Aidan O’Connell. O’Connell, a former fourth-round pick, started down the stretch of the 2023 season after Jimmy Garoppolo was benched, and he helped lead Las Vegas to a 5-4 record.

O’Connell has consistently spoken highly of Pierce and expressed his gratitude for the head coach giving him a chance to win the starting job via Shanna McCarriston of CBS:

“Since really AP started, he’s put a lot of confidence in me,” O’Connell said. “He’s given me a great opportunity. I’m just trying to make the most of the opportunity. It really is a privilege and an opportunity to get to play on the team and get reps at the quarterback position.”

Minshew is the more experienced option and, like O’Connell, got the opportunity to start for the Indianapolis Colts when Anthony Richardson missed the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Minshew led the Colts to a 7-6 record though the team narrowly missed the postseason.

At this point of the offseason, it’s hard to predict who will eventually emerge as the Raiders’ starter as there are pros and cons to either option. While Minshew was brought in on a two-year deal, the team had to like what it saw from O’Connell who stepped into a chaotic situation and finished the year strong.

Training camp will determine who ultimately gets the job and it’ll be interesting to see which player separates themselves later in the summer.

Gardner Minshew says Raiders were his first option in free agency

Minshew was a logical target for Las Vegas in free agency because of his previous starting experience and relatively inexpensive deal. Minshew also reciprocated their interest, and he later revealed that the Raiders were his first option in free agency.