Aidan O’Connell drew the start for the Raiders in Week 1 of the preseason and he could not have been more impressive. O’Connell had just three incompletions, two of which were drops by Tre Tucker. He looked confident and accurate, which is pretty rare for a rookie QB making their first appearance.
In a recent article by Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report, he wrote about the most surprising performances from Week 1 of the preseason. That list included O’Connell, who might have been the most impressive quarterback on the field this weekend. Here is a snippet of what the site had to say about the fourth-round pick from Purdue:
The ball hardly touched the ground with O’Connell at quarterback. He got the start and looked very comfortable running the offense, going 15-of-18 for 141 yards and a touchdown in his debut.
The Niners were not playing their starters so there’s reason for some pause. However, the most important thing a quarterback can do in the preseason is show some command of the offense and take care of the football.
O’Connell did both of those things well. The Raiders have Brian Hoyer on the roster so there’s going to be competition for the backup quarterback job to Jimmy Garoppolo but O’Connell took a step toward showing he can handle the responsibility.
It’s important to remember that this is just one preseason game against a lot of backup players, but O’Connell’s performance was very encouraging. Now, it’ll be fascinating to see if he can continue the positive momentum into Week 2 when the Raiders take on the Rams.