Although Jimmy Garoppolo is currently healthy and expected to be ready to go for Week 1 of the 2023 season, his durability remains a concern.
Garoppolo has missed time in each of the past three seasons and is currently recovering from offseason foot surgery. His health will always be a question mark for the Las Vegas Raiders, so having a quality backup in place is of the utmost importance for the franchise.
Fortunately, it appears that Las Vegas might have a capable player to take over for Garoppolo in Aidan O’Connell should disaster strike. O’Connell shined as a starter in the Raiders’ preseason win against the San Francisco 49ers, throwing for 141 yards and a touchdown.
A one-game sample isn’t much to write home about, but O’Connell drew heavy praise from Rich Gannon following his impressive debut via The 33rd Team:
“Let me talk a little bit about Aidan O’Connell because he’s really the quarterback that stole the show today. He started the game and he played really well and I like Aidan O’Connell a lot. He was a walk-on at Purdue, he had to fight and claw his way to the top of the depth chart. Eventually became a two-year starter, did some really good things for the Boilermakers and really got the attention of Raiders GM Dave Ziegler and Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels. He’s got a lot of the qualities and the intangibles that you love at that position. Productive, durable, tough, consistent, he’s got great anticipation and accuracy.”
Touted as a steady but conservative passer, O’Connell displayed poise and understanding of the offense throughout the game against San Francisco. While there were instances where he could have kept drives alive longer, he played within the system and helped the offense cruise to a victory.
It’s unlikely that O’Connell makes many appearances in the regular season barring an injury, but having someone like him develop behind the scenes is a good long-term move for Las Vegas. He hasn’t been in the NFL very long, but O’Connell could very well have a decent career ahead of him.
Josh McDaniels, Brandon Facyson impressed with Aidan O’Connell in training camp
Gannon isn’t the only person that’s been impressed with O’Connell during the summer. The rookie has drawn favorable reviews from Josh McDaniels and Brandon Facyson.
McDaniels was complimentary of how accurate O’Connell is with the ball, while Facyson has been impressed with how much he’s been able to learn in such a short amount of time.