Things have taken a turn for the worse for the Las Vegas Raiders as they have now lost three straight games with the most recent being the worst under interim coach Antonio Pierce and for rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell.
The Raiders defense came to play, but the offense failed to generate anything substantial all game long. They totaled just 202 yards total, turned the ball over three times and had five 3-and-outs while failing to score a single point, falling 3-0 to the Minnesota Vikings.
O’Connell threw for 171 yards and one interception, but with the Vikings ultimately benching their starter Joshua Dobbs and it eventually leading to the lone points of the game, some wondered whether Pierce considered the same with O’Connell. But the Raiders interim coach put the blame on himself for the poor offensive showing.
“No, poor performance coaching,” Pierce said after the loss. “Starts with myself, starts with the coordinator, quarterback, and so on. Just bad overall.”
But as far as moving forward, Pierce didn’t rule out the possibility of going back to veteran Jimmy Garoppolo in the future. “We’ll evaluate everything going forward,” Pierce added.
It is extremely difficult for rookie quarterbacks to thrive in the NFL immediately. O’Connell has been solid at times but has struggled to make the necessary big plays and take care of the ball. He has completed nearly 64% of his passes but has just four touchdowns to seven interceptions with those turnovers sometimes coming on key drives.
But despite all of this, O’Connell has not lost confidence in himself but knows he needs to be better. “I have confidence in myself to execute and do my job properly,” O’Connell said. “I haven’t done it good enough, so I got to be better at doing that.
“But I still have full confidence in myself to do this. I’m learning every week what it takes and working extremely hard to try to put a good product on the field. I’m not doing it right now, so I have to do better.”
The Raiders’ struggles at the quarterback position have held them back this season. Put simply, this team has far too much offensive talent to be shut out by any opponent. O’Connell is certainly someone who believes he is capable of leading this team, but his leash may be shortened as Pierce continues to look for the answers necessary to get the Raiders back on track and turn his interim tag into a permanent one.