July 22, 2024

Are Raiders worried about O’Connell, Minshew QB battle?

For a piece published Wednesday, Tashan Reed of The Athletic suggested that neither 2023 fourth-round draft pick Aidan O’Connell nor journeyman Gardner Minshew impressed all that much from organized team activities through mandatory minicamp amid the Las Vegas Raiders’ quarterback competition that will resume when training-camp practices begin later this month.

“Both players got off to a rough start during OTAs as they struggled with accuracy, turned the ball over too frequently and failed to consistently push the ball down the field vertically,” Reed said about O’Connell and Minshew. “They deserve some grace as they were still early in the stages of learning offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s offense and had to face a defense entering year three under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, but that doesn’t change the fact that each quarterback has a long way to go.”

O’Connell went 5-5 as a starter in his rookie season before the Raiders were heavily linked with LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels this past spring. 

The Washington Commanders ultimately held onto the draft’s second overall selection that they used to grab Daniels, and the Raiders moved forward with their plan of having O’Connell and Minshew compete through the preseason.

As recently as Tuesday, Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams revealed that the QB1 gig probably belongs to O’Connell “right now.” Reed wrote that “the Raiders’ front office and coaching staff are confident that Minshew or O’Connell will separate themselves throughout training camp practices and preseason games” before Las Vegas opens the regular season with a matchup at the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 8.

“It’ll depend on performance, of course, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if both Minshew and O’Connell take the field at some point this year,” Reed added.

That last point is interesting, as some believe the Raiders could pursue current Dallas Cowboys starter Dak Prescott next offseason. Prescott remains in the final year of his contract, seemingly isn’t close to inking an extension and could hit the open market in March 2025 since the Cowboys can’t retain his rights beyond the upcoming campaign via the franchise tag.

In short, Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce may have to tolerate playing “a Band-Aid” option at the sport’s most important position for the second straight season.