Raiders News: Maxx Crosby Says Rookie QB Aidan O’Connell Is A ‘Stud’
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 the firing of head coach Josh McDaniels, general manager Dave Ziegler and offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, one of the first things the Las Vegas Raiders did under interim coach Antonio Pierce was to bench veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and go with rookie Aidan O’Connell.

O’Connell turned some heads during training camp, but now the franchise is completely behind him, and he picked up his first career win on Sunday against the Giants. The rookie was solid, completing 64% of his passes for 209 yards, and while he didn’t throw a touchdown, he also didn’t turn the ball over.

The rookie undoubtedly has the backing of the franchise as a whole and his teammates as well. Defensive captain Maxx Crosby had a ton of praise for O’Connell following the Raiders win, calling him a stud in an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show:

“He is a stud. He doesn’t carry himself like a rookie. That’s the first thing I can point to. When he first got here, he carried himself like he was a vet. He comes in, he’s super calm. Doesn’t let anything get to him. He gets ripped on in meetings, poker face. Doesn’t have any reaction.

Seeing a young guy like that is super rare, especially playing quarterback. I’m not surprised by what he’s doing. Coming in, getting his first win, being poised under pressure and I expect him to get better every week. I’m just happy for him, he’s finally getting his opportunity and he’s gonna take full advantage of it I have no doubt.”

O’Connell isn’t the most mobile quarterback, nor does he possess the greatest arm talent, but he does have some key traits to be successful at the position. As Crosby noted, he remains poised under pressure, stays calm and is very intelligent.

Perhaps most importantly, the Raiders team believes in him. Numerous players have spoken highly of O’Connell since camp, and when the team believes, things just tend to happen. Guys play harder because they know they have a chance to win with the right guy under center.

O’Connell’s numbers might not jump off the page, but the Raiders don’t need him to be Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow. With the weapons they have surrounding him, O’Connell just needs to be able to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers in favorable positions and let them shine, and he is more than capable of doing just that.