Sunday, December 3, 2023

Las Vegas Raiders appear likely to look for a quarterback in next year’s draft | NFL News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Raiders interim coach Antonio Pierce remained cautious about declaring Aidan O’Connellas Las Vegas’ quarterback of the future on Monday. Despite having six more games left in the season, Pierce refrained from making definitive statements about O’Connell’s long-term role, stating, “We have six more games left, so we’ll find out in six more.And then we’ll see what happens with AP in 2024.”
The uncertainty stems from O’Connell’s ability to secure victories, such as beating both New York teams consecutively. However, after losing to the Miami Dolphins over the weekend, the Raiders (5-6) face the challenge of securing a high enough draft selection next year to address their quarterback needs.
The Raiders, who drafted O’Connell in the fourth round this year, may need to upgrade their quarterback position to compete effectively in the AFC West, where rivals boast superior quarterbacks, including Patrick Mahomes leading the Kansas City Chiefs.
Pierce’s handling of the end of the first half against the Dolphins raised eyebrows, as the Raiders opted for a conservative approach despite having an opportunity to score. This strategic choice, aimed at protecting the young quarterback, hinted at concerns about O’Connell’s readiness.
While Pierce emphasized that the game wasn’t lost solely because of O’Connell, the quarterback’s performance has raised questions. O’Connell, with a 2-2 record as a starter, has struggled with interceptions, a 4.1% interception rate (third-worst in the NFL), and a modest 6.5 yards per pass. Despite Pierce’s reassurances that O’Connell didn’t solely cause the loss, there’s acknowledgment that ball security is crucial for the quarterback.
The Raiders’ defense has shown promise, holding teams below their scoring averages in recent games, but improvements are needed in offensive strategy, particularly with regards to running back Josh Jacobs. Pierce acknowledged that Jacobs didn’t receive enough carries in the recent game against Miami and stressed the importance of meeting the magic number of 20-plus carries.
While second-year safety Isaiah Pola-Mao demonstrated impact in a starting role, penalties, and untimely calls posed challenges for the Raiders in their recent matchup.
Looking ahead, the Raiders face the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, a significant test for the team’s ongoing development.
(With AP inputs)

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