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Las Vegas Raiders coach, GM reportedly have differing opinions on starting QB in 2024

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback 2024, Antonio Pierce
Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Raiders coach Antonio Pierce went 5-4 in replacing Josh McDaniels, allowing him to become the full-time head coach in 2024. While Raiders owner Mark Davis prioritized a general manager with experience to pair with his young head coach, there already appears to be a little division early into the job.

The Raiders met with some of the top general manager candidates in the NFL before hiring Tom Telesco. Las Vegas made its decision to hire Telesco just over a month after he was fired from the same position with the Los Angeles Chargers.

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  • Aidan O’Connell stats 2023: 83.9 QB rating, 12-7 TD-INT, 6.5 yards per attempt, 62.1 percent completion rate, 24 sacks taken, 5-5 record in 11 games

In hiring Telesco, Davis emphasized the importance of having an experienced talent evaluator and decision-maker at the helm to work alongside Pierce. It was a bit of a risk given Telesco and Pierce never met until the first interview, especially for a team with uncertainty at quarterback.

While the Raiders head coach and general manager have both preached taking an aggressive approach this offseason in wanting to improve the quarterback room, there is reportedly some disagreement over who should be the starting quarterback next season.

According to Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda, quarterback Aidan O’Connell “seems to be the choice” from Pierce’s perspective to start for Las Vegas next season. However, Telesco “wants a big name” to take over at quarterback with O’Connell seemingly viewed more as a backup.

O’Connell, the 135th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, had some bright spots in his rookie season. From Weeks 15-18, he posted a 98.4 QB rating with an 8=0 TD-INT ratio and averaged 6.4 yards per attempt. However, during that same stretch, O’Connell also completed just 59.4 percent of his passes and averaged 213.3 yards per game.

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While the Chargers weren’t in the quarterback market ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, Telesco certainly did some film study on the quarterback both in Los Angeles and before taking the job with Las Vegas. Considering expectations for the club in 2024, it’s reasonable to believe he views it as imperative to find a superior option at starting quarterback.

From Pierce’s perspective, O’Connell was good enough to finish his rookie season with a 3-1 record down the stretch and that earned the confidence of the Raiders’ head coach. While Pierce and Telesco both agree that Las Vegas needs a better quarterback option than Jimmy Garoppolo, who will be released, it is a bit surprising to see reported disagreement over just how much of a need quarterback is between the coach and general manager weeks into working together.

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